Fracture Reduction — Open

This procedure is done to return a broken bone to its proper alignment. An open fracture reduction involves cutting through the skin to realign the bones during an operation. Screws and a plate or external support frame may be needed to hold the fragments in place.

  • Call Your Doctor


    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Severe or unusual pain that is not relieved by pain medicine
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Numbness and/or tingling in the injured extremity
    • Loss of movement in the fingers or toes of the injured arm or leg
    • The cast feels too tight
    • Burning or stinging sensations under the cast
    • Redness of the skin around the cast
    • Persistent itching under the cast
    • Cracks or soft spots develop in the cast
    • Chalky white, blue, or black discoloration of fingers, toes, arm, or leg

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    This procedure is done to return a broken bone to its proper alignment. An open fracture reduction involves cutting through the skin to realign the bones during an operation. Screws and a plate or external support frame may be needed to hold the fragments in place.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    It is used if the bone is in many pieces, is difficult to reduce, or wasn't reduced with a closed reduction.

    Fracture reduction is done for the following reasons:

    • So that the bone can heal properly and more quickly
    • To decrease pain and prevent later deformity
    • To regain use of the bone and limb

  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a fracture reduction, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Nerve damage
    • Infection
    • Bleeding
    • Fat particles from the bone marrow or blood clots from veins that may dislodge and travel to the lungs
    • Need for additional surgery if the bone does not heal properly
    • Reaction to anesthesia

    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Advanced age
    • Preexisting medical condition
    • An open fracture (broken bone is sticking out of skin)
    • Diabetes
    • Use of steroid medicine
    • Smoking
    • Obesity

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.