Orthopedic trauma is a common consequence of car accidents, slip and falls, and other types of injuries (pedestrian accidents). One common form of treatment for such trauma is surgery, and one such surgery is Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF). This surgery involves the open reduction of a bone fracture, followed by the internal fixation of the bone with hardware. In Florida, victims of accidents resulting in orthopedic trauma may require ORIF surgery to correct the damage and allow for proper healing. In this article, we will explore the ORIF surgery, its procedures, and why it is done.
What is ORIF Surgery?
ORIF surgery is a procedure that is used to treat a bone fracture. It is a surgical procedure that involves the use of hardware to stabilize the bone and allow it to heal. The surgery involves the following steps:
- Incision – The surgeon will make an incision in the skin over the site of the fracture.
- Reduction – The surgeon will manipulate the bone fragments to align them correctly. This is called reduction.
- Fixation – The surgeon will then use metal hardware to hold the bone fragments in place while the bone heals. The hardware may include screws, plates, rods, or wires.
- Closure – The incision will be closed with sutures or staples.
ORIF surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and the procedure may take several hours. The length of the surgery depends on the location and severity of the fracture.
Why is ORIF Surgery Done?
ORIF surgery is done for several reasons. The most common reasons include:
- To stabilize the bone – ORIF surgery is done to stabilize the bone and prevent further damage. If the bone is not stabilized, it may not heal properly, leading to chronic pain, deformity, and other complications.
- To promote healing – ORIF surgery allows for proper alignment of the bone fragments, which promotes healing. The hardware holds the bone in place, allowing it to heal correctly.
- To restore function – ORIF surgery is done to restore function to the affected limb or joint. Without surgery, the fracture may not heal correctly, leading to decreased mobility, strength, and function.
- To prevent complications – ORIF surgery can prevent complications associated with fractures, such as infection, nerve damage, and blood vessel damage.
Types of Fractures that Require ORIF Surgery
ORIF surgery is typically performed for complex fractures that cannot be treated with other methods. The types of fractures that require ORIF surgery include:
- Open fractures – Open fractures are fractures in which the bone has broken through the skin. These fractures are at high risk of infection and require immediate treatment. ORIF surgery is often necessary to prevent infection and promote healing.
- Comminuted fractures – Comminuted fractures are fractures in which the bone has shattered into multiple pieces. These fractures require surgery to realign the bone fragments and stabilize them with hardware.
- Displaced fractures – Displaced fractures are fractures in which the bone fragments are not aligned correctly. These fractures require surgery to realign the bone fragments and stabilize them with hardware.
- Intra-articular fractures – Intra-articular fractures are fractures that occur within a joint. These fractures require surgery to realign the bone fragments and stabilize them with hardware to prevent arthritis and other joint complications.
Recovery After ORIF Surgery
Recovery after ORIF surgery typically involves a period of immobilization followed by physical therapy. The length of immobilization depends on the location and severity of the fracture, as well as the type of hardware used.
It is possible for physical therapy to start a few days after ORIF surgery, depending on the surgeon’s and therapist’s recommendations. The timing of physical therapy can depend on various factors such as the patient’s age, overall health, severity of the fracture, and type of hardware used. In some cases, the patient may start physical therapy a few days after surgery to prevent stiffness and promote early mobilization. In other cases, the surgeon may recommend a longer immobilization period before starting physical therapy to allow for proper healing.
During the immobilization period, the patient may need to use crutches, a brace, or a cast to keep the affected limb or joint stable. Pain medication may also be prescribed to manage pain.
Physical therapy is typically started after the immobilization period is over. The goal of physical therapy is to restore function, strength, and range of motion to the affected limb or joint. Physical therapy sessions may be scheduled several times a week, and the duration of therapy depends on the patient’s progress and the severity of the injury.
It is important for the patient to follow the surgeon’s and therapist’s instructions regarding the timing of physical therapy to ensure a safe and effective recovery. The therapist will design a customized physical therapy program based on the patient’s individual needs, which may include exercises to strengthen muscles, improve range of motion, and reduce pain and swelling.
Physical therapy may include exercises to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, stretching exercises to increase flexibility, and range of motion exercises to improve movement. The therapist may also use modalities such as heat, ice, and electrical stimulation to reduce pain and swelling.
The patient may also be given home exercises to perform between therapy sessions to promote healing and improve function.
Recovery after ORIF surgery can take several months, and the patient may need to limit physical activity during this time. It is important to follow the surgeon’s and therapist’s instructions regarding post-operative care and rehabilitation to ensure a successful recovery.
Potential Risks and Complications of ORIF Surgery
Like all surgical procedures, ORIF surgery carries risks and potential complications. These include:
- Infection – ORIF surgery can increase the risk of infection, especially in open fractures.
- Nerve damage – The hardware used in ORIF surgery can damage nerves, leading to numbness, weakness, and pain.
- Blood vessel damage – The hardware used in ORIF surgery can damage blood vessels, leading to bleeding and other complications.
- Hardware failure – The hardware used in ORIF surgery can break or become loose, requiring additional surgery.
- Joint stiffness – ORIF surgery can lead to joint stiffness and limited range of motion.
- Chronic pain – ORIF surgery can lead to chronic pain, especially if the bone does not heal properly.
- Blood clots – ORIF surgery can increase the risk of blood clots, especially if the patient is immobilized for an extended period.
Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) surgery is a common surgical procedure used to treat complex bone fractures. It involves the use of metal hardware to stabilize the bone and promote healing. ORIF surgery is typically done to restore function, prevent complications, and promote healing. Recovery after ORIF surgery involves a period of immobilization followed by physical therapy. While ORIF surgery can be successful, it carries risks and potential complications, and patients should be aware of these before undergoing the procedure. It is important to follow the surgeon’s and therapist’s instructions regarding post-operative care and rehabilitation to ensure a successful recovery.
If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. To pursue legal action, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who understands your injury and will be your voice in a in pre-suit settlement negotiations or in a lawsuit.
In Florida, personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations, which is the legal time limit for filing a lawsuit. In most cases, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases are two years from the date of the accident. It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to ensure that your rights are protected.
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If you have been injured in an accident in Florida, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible and contact one of the best personal injury lawyers near you to discuss your legal options.