Skip to Content



What do I need to know about open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF)?

ORIF is surgery to fix a fractured (broken) bone. Medical plates, rods, screws, pins, or wires will be used to hold the bones in place while they heal.

Internal Fixation Device

How do I prepare for ORIF?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything 6 to 8 hours before your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during ORIF?

You may be given medicine to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may be given medicine that numbs the body area where the surgery will be done. With this anesthesia, you will remain awake or lightly sedated during surgery. An incision will be made in the skin over your broken bone. Your surgeon will put the broken bone pieces back together. Metal pins, screws, rods, or plates will be placed into the side of the broken bones to hold them together while they heal. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

What are the risks of ORIF?

  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. After surgery, your broken bone may not heal correctly. You may continue to have pain. The hardware may break or change shape. You may need another surgery to remove the device used to hold your bones in place. Nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, or muscles may be damaged during surgery.
  • You may develop a fat emboli. This is when fat is forced out of the inside of the bone and travels to other parts of your body. It can block blood flow to your lungs, brain, or heart. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 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

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

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