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Closed Reduction


What you need to know about closed reduction:

Closed reduction is a procedure to put the pieces of a broken bone back into the right place without surgery. Closed reduction is used when your bone is broken in one place and the bone pieces have not gone through the skin. It is also used when you do not need hardware such as pins, screws, or plates to hold the pieces of bone in place. It is best if closed reduction can be done as soon as possible after your bone is broken.

How to prepare for closed reduction:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the procedure. Tell him or her what medicines and supplements you take. He or she may ask when you last ate or drank anything. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to anesthesia. Arrange for someone to drive you home.

What will happen during closed reduction:

You may be given anesthesia to numb the injured area. You may also be given sedative medicine to keep you relaxed during the procedure. You may instead be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will move the broken pieces of bone back into the correct position. An x-ray will be done to make sure the bones are in the right place. A cast or splint will be placed on the area to keep the bones from moving while they heal.

What will happen after closed reduction:

You may need to stay in the facility for an hour or more after the procedure. Then you may be able to go home. Healing may take up to 12 weeks.

Risks of closed reduction:

The procedure may not work and you may need surgery to repair the broken bones. The bones may not grow back in the correct position. Your bone may not look like it did before you broke it. New breaks may occur during the procedure. There may be damage to nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues near your injury. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have severe pain, even after you take medicine.
  • Your injured limb is red or swollen.
  • You have numbness in your fingers or toes.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • There is a foul smell coming from inside your splint or cast.
  • Your splint or cast gets damaged, wet, or cracks.
  • Your splint or cast feels too tight or too loose.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for yourself at home:

  • Use crutches or a walker as directed if you broke a bone in your leg or foot. These devices will help you walk and take some weight off your injured leg or foot.
  • Rest your limb as much as possible. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to daily activities. You will need to limit activities or exercise while your bone heals.
  • Elevate your injured area above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your cast or splint on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Apply ice on your broken bone for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Do not take baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming until your provider says it is okay.
  • Go to physical therapy if directed. Physical therapy usually starts after your bones have healed and your splint or cast is removed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength.
  • Do not wear rings on your fingers if the break was in an arm or hand. Don't wear rings on your toes if the break was in the leg or foot.

Cast and splint care:

  • Check your cast every day. Call your healthcare provider if you notice any cracks, dents, holes, or flaking on your cast.
  • Keep your splint or cast clean and dry. Cover your splint or cast with a towel when you eat. If your splint or cast gets dirty, use a mild detergent and a damp washcloth to wipe off the outside. Continue to cover your splint or cast with trash bags to keep it dry while you bathe.
  • Care for the edges of your cast. Cover the cast edges to keep them smooth. Use 4 inch pieces of waterproof tape. Place one end of the tape under the inside edge of your cast and fold it over to the outside surface. Overlap tape strips until the edges are completely covered. Change the tape as directed. Do not pull or repair any of the padding from inside the cast. This could cause blisters and sores on the skin under your cast.
  • Keep weight off your splint or cast. Do not let anyone push down or lean on your splint or cast. This may cause it to break.
  • Do not put sharp objects in the splint or cast. Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch under your splint or cast. This may cause wounds that can get infected, or you may lose the item inside. If your skin itches, blow cool air into the splint or cast. You may also gently scratch your skin outside with a cloth.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for x-rays or to have your splint changed to a cast. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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