The surgical procedure that is done to fix the broken bones of an ankle fracture is known as Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF). The procedure is carried out with the help of screws, wires, plates and/or pins, which are inserted by the Arizona orthopedic surgeon to keep the bones in place while they heal.
Diagnosis of an ankle fracture is done with the help of the patient’s complete history of the problem, a detailed physical exam, and after carrying out diagnostic tests such as MRIS, X-rays etc. A CT scan may be also needed if a much more complex fracture is suspected.
Most of these procedures are performed acutely, so you may already be in the hospital. Your procedure may be performed acutely, or it could be that the swelling needs to be allowed to go down first. The last thing you would want is a procedure performed on damaged soft tissues that are swollen and susceptible to infection. It’s also wise to arrange for transport after the completion of the surgery as you won’t be fit to drive your own car.
Discuss the type of anesthesia you will receive during the operation and if there are any options. Also, a form of consent will be provided to you which either you or a family member will have to sign. Be sure to ask your orthopedic surgeon any and all questions regarding the surgery, before signing the form.
What to Expect During the Procedure
This procedure is carried out with the help of screws, wires, plates and/or pins as stated above. First, the fracture specialist will make a small incision on or near the ankle. In the case of defects, bone grafts may be required, which will make the grafting process much stronger.
Loose bone fragments will be removed, and the fractured pieces will be put back into place as accurately as possible. If the joint surface has been damaged, the orthopedic surgeon will attempt to accurately put those pieces back together as well to minimize the chance of post-traumatic arthritis. Sutures are then used to close the operation site, but before that, several x-rays are taken to make sure all the bones are in their proper place.
Helpful Guidelines for Home Care
In-home care management after an open reduction and ankle fracture fixation generally requires that patients follow the RICE method to help reduce the swelling and pain. The use of crutches is highly encouraged; ice should be applied on the operated site 3-4 times in a day for 10-20 minutes, and the leg should be elevated at all times so that the fluid inside the joint can resume its normal circulation and swelling is minimized.
To help ease the pain and inflammation that normally follows after this procedure, you will be given pain medication and crutches as well. It may take a few months for the fracture to heal properly. The end result may be a pain free existence, or chronic aches and pains may occur as a result.
The Board Certified orthopedic doctors at OSPI are experts in fracture care and most insurance is accepted. If you or a loved one is suffering from a suspected fracture, call the top doctors today serving Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and Mesa AZ.