Fracture Care & Surgery
There are various ways to treat fractures. Bracing or casting the injured area can treat many fractures, however some serious fractures may require surgery.
For fractures requiring surgery there are several treatment options. Surgery usually requires the use of devices like plates, screws, pins or rods. Intramedullary rods are metal rods that are inserted into the center of the shaft of a bone. Common sites for intramedullary rods are the shafts of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). External fixtures utilize threaded pins that are drilled perpendicular to the bone and are attached using couplers, to rods external to the limb to hold the fracture in position.
A common term you will hear is open reduction and internal fixation. This means an incision must be made to reach the fracture. The bone is aligned and one of the devices listed above is inserted to stabilize the fracture. Conversely, closed reduction and internal fixation means an incision is not made over the fracture. An example of this is the treatment for a femur fracture. Usually these fractures will be aligned using a fracture table that applies traction to the limb to realign it. An incision is made by the hip and a rod is placed down the center of the bone.