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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
ORIF is surgery to fix a broken bone. Open reduction means that the bone is moved back into the right place with surgery. Internal fixation means that hardware (such as screws, rods, or pins) is used to hold the broken bones together.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, or have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
Seek care immediately 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 stitches come apart.
- Your cast or splint breaks.
- You cannot move your fingers or toes.
- You have tingling or numbness in your fingers or toes.
Call your doctor or surgeon if:
- You have a fever.
- Your cast or splint gets wet or begins to smell.
- Your bandage or cast feels too tight or too loose.
- You have a lot of itching under your cast or splint.
- Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- 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.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take a blood thinner. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any other medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Take your blood thinner exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not skip does or take less than prescribed. Tell your provider right away if you forget to take your blood thinner, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin:
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- 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.
- Ask about activity. Do not lift heavy objects. Ask when you can drive and return to work, school, or your daily activities.
- Use support devices as directed. You may need to use crutches, a cane, or a walker if you had ORIF surgery on your leg or foot. It is important to use crutches or a walker correctly. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about how to use these walking devices.
- Ask when you can bathe. When you are allowed to bathe, cover your cast or splint with 2 plastic bags. Tape the bags to your skin or use rubber bands to keep the water out. Keep the cast or splint out of the water so it does not get wet. If you do not have a cast or splint, carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Pat the area dry and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Check the surgery area for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
- Elevate your limb as directed. Raise your leg or arm above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your leg or arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Ice the fractured area as directed. Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on the area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
- Go to physical therapy if directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
Cast or splint care:
If you have a cast or splint, do the following:
- Check the skin around the cast or splint every day. Apply lotion on any red or sore areas.
- Do not push down or lean on any part of the cast or splint. It may break or move the injured area.
- Do not scratch the skin under the cast with any sharp or pointed object inside the cast.
- If your splint is too tight, gently loosen it so that your fingers or toes are comfortable.
Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:
You may need to return to have your wound checked and stitches or staples removed. 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.
Learn more about ORIF (Discharge Care)
IBM Watson Micromedex
- Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of a Leg Fracture in Children
- Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of an Arm Fracture in Children
- ORIF of a Hip Fracture
- ORIF of a Hip Fracture in Children
- ORIF of Hip Fracture
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.