Understanding Ankle Fracture Open Reduction and Internal Fixation
Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a type of treatment to fix a broken bone. It puts the pieces of a broken bone back together so they can heal. Open reduction means the bones are put back in place during a surgery. Internal fixation means that special hardware is used to hold the bone pieces together. This helps the bone heals correctly. The procedure is done by an orthopedic surgeon. This is a doctor with special training in treating bone, joint, and muscle problems.
How an ankle fracture happens
Three bones make up the ankle joint. These are the shinbone (tibia), the smaller bone in your leg (fibula), and a bone in your foot (talus).
Different kinds of injury can damage the lower tibia, lower fibula, or talus. In some cases, only 1 of these bones might break. Or you may have a break in 2 or more of these bones. The bones may break, but the pieces are still lined up correctly. Or they may be broken and not lined up correctly.
Why ankle fracture ORIF is done
You are more likely to need ORIF if:
The bones of your leg are very out of alignment
One or more bones broke through the skin
Your bones broke into several pieces
Your ankle is unstable
How ankle fracture ORIF is done
During an open reduction, the bone pieces are put back in their proper alignment. The bones are then connected back in place with hardware. This is called internal fixation. The hardware may include screws, plates, rods, wires, or nails.
Risks of ankle fracture ORIF
All surgery has risks. The risks of ankle fracture ORIF include:
Your risks vary based on your age and general health. For example, if you are a smoker or if you have low bone density, you may have a higher risk for certain problems. People with diabetes that is not controlled well may also have a higher risk for problems. Talk with your healthcare provider about which risks apply most to you.