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What Is a Closed Reduction of a Fracture?

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Bone Fracture Treatment Options

Gloved Hand on Man's Shoulder

Breaking a bone is a traumatic injury and makes daily living more difficult. You want to ease the pain and get back to your everyday life as soon as possible. While some fractures are complex and require surgery to place plates, pins, or screws, so the bone(s) can heal properly, other fractures can be reset without surgery, using a closed reduction method that is done without making any incisions in the skin. The bones are simply reset before covering the injury with a cast or splint. Patients who are the best candidates for closed reductions typically only have a single breakage point in the fracture, which is determined with an X-ray.

How Closed Fracture Reduction Is Performed

Your orthopedic surgeon will examine you and take X-rays to determine whether a closed reduction is the best treatment option for you. A closed reduction is a nonoperative treatment in which your orthopedic surgeon manipulates bone pieces back into their correct position and alignment. The procedure is usually done shortly after the bone is broken in an outpatient procedure.

Before the closed reduction starts, you will be given anesthesia to block pain, and you may be awake or asleep, depending on what you and your doctor determine is best. Your doctor will move the broken bone pieces back into the proper position so it can heal properly.

Once your bone is set, your doctor will take another X-ray to make sure the bone is in the correct position before covering it with a cast or splint to protect it while it heals.

When Is Open Reduction Surgery Needed?

Not all fractures can be fixed with a closed reduction, especially if they are unstable, open, or if the risk-to-benefit ratio is unfavorable as determined by the orthopedic surgeon. It’s important to know that closed fracture reduction is not always feasible or successful, and you may still require surgery to repair the broken bone.

Woman Holding Wrist in Pain

Your orthopedic surgeon will only recommend surgery if the possible benefits outweigh the risks and if it is the best way to ensure your bones grow in proper alignment.

“Open reduction/internal fixation” (ORIF) is the term for surgical treatment aimed at realigning a broken bone using screws, plates, pins, or rods. ORIF may be an emergency procedure, or it can be done after swelling subsides, scheduling surgery about a week or so from the date of the injury, so your doctor can ensure the bones are set correctly. ORIF is done by making an incision above the site of the fracture, so your orthopedic surgery can access the broken parts directly.

Learn more about how Fox Valley Orthopedics can help you by dialing (630) 584-1400 to book an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons.