Skip to main content

Closed Reduction Internal Fixation of Leg Fracture in Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is closed reduction internal fixation (CRIF) of a leg fracture?

CRIF is a surgery. Your healthcare provider moves the broken bones in your leg, ankle, or foot into correct position. He or she is able to do this without an incision being made over the break. Pins and wires are used to hold the pieces of bone in place. Flexible and non-flexible rods and nails, and metal plates may also be used.

How do I prepare for a CRIF?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery. Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines you should take or not take on the day of surgery.

What will happen during a CRIF?

  • You may be given local anesthesia that numbs the body area where the surgery will be done. With local anesthesia, you will remain awake or lightly sedated during surgery. You may feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. You may, instead, be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep during the surgery. The anesthesia will also keep you pain-free during the surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through the IV to decrease the risk for infection.
  • Your healthcare provider will use x-ray pictures to help him or her move the bones into the correct position. Once the bones are positioned correctly, pins and wires may be used to hold the bones in place. Instead, your healthcare provider may make an incision and place flexible nails or rods. He or she may need to place metal plates to hold the bones in place. The incision will be closed with stitches. Your healthcare provider will apply a splint or half cast over your leg or foot. This will prevent movement and help the bones heal.

What will happen after a CRIF?

  • You will be monitored until you are fully awake. You may be taught how to use crutches. You may have numbness for up to 6 hours after surgery. Take your pain medicine before the numbness wears off.
  • As the swelling decreases you may need to have a full cast placed. When the bone is healed, your healthcare provider may remove the pins, wires, and screws. You will need to participate in therapy. Physical and occupational therapies may help you gain strength and keep complete range of motion in the affected leg. You may need to continue therapy after the break has healed.

What are the risks of a CRIF?

You may get an infection, or bleed more than expected. You may have an allergic reaction to the devices that are placed. The fixation devices may cause fractures in other parts of the bone. You bone may not heal properly. The devices may cause irritation to your skin and tissues. The devices may break or move. You may need another surgery. Nerves, muscles, tendons, or blood vessels may be damaged during a CRIF. You may not have full range of motion of the leg.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.