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Orif Of A Leg Fracture In Children


Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is surgery to repair your child's broken leg. Orthopedic hardware (such as rods or pins) is used to hold the broken bone together while it heals.

Internal Fixation Device


Before your child's surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • Emotional support: Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.
  • Monitoring:
    • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your child's skin record the electrical activity of his heart.
    • Vital signs: Healthcare providers will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask you or your child about his pain. These vital signs give information about your child's current health.
  • General anesthesia will keep your child asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your child's IV. He may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down his throat. The tube may cause your child to have a sore throat when he wakes up.

During your child's surgery:

  • An incision will be made in the skin over the broken bone. Your child's healthcare provider will put the broken bones together. Hardware, such as metal screws, rods, or pins, will be attached to your child's broken bone to hold the pieces together while they heal. Damaged blood vessels and nerves will also be repaired.
  • An x-ray may be done to help make sure the broken bone is straight. The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical tape and covered with bandages. Your child's healthcare provider will put on a cast or splint to help hold the bones straight while they heal.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room where he can rest until he is fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor him closely. When they see that your child is okay, they will take him to his hospital room. Your child may be sleepy and have pain after surgery. Do not let your child get out of bed until healthcare providers say it is okay. Leave your child's bandages on until his healthcare provider removes them.

  • Food and drink after surgery: Your child will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once his stomach function returns after surgery. He may be given ice chips at first. Then he will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your child's stomach does not become upset, he may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once he can eat soft foods easily, he may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
  • Oxygen: Your child may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Oxygen will help your child breathe easier. Your child may get oxygen through small tubes placed in his nostrils or through a mask. He may instead be placed in an oxygen tent. Do not take off your child's oxygen tubes or mask or remove him from the tent without asking his healthcare provider first.
  • Splint or cast: Your child will need a splint or cast to protect his broken leg.
  • Medicines:
    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine will help calm your child's stomach and control vomiting.
    • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell healthcare providers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.


  • Your child may get an infection or bleed more than expected. Other parts of his leg, such as the nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and muscles may be damaged. Your child's leg, foot, or toes may become stiff, swollen, painful, numb, or weak. Even with surgery, your child's broken leg may not heal as expected. His leg movements may not be the same as they were before. Your child may have trouble going back to his usual activities, including sports.
  • Without surgery, the pain and problems he has with his leg may get worse. His broken leg may even grow crooked. His legs may also not grow evenly, causing one leg to be shorter than the other.


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

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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

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