Fracture Reduction -- Closed
(Setting a Fracture)
|Broken Bones in the Arm|
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Reasons for Procedure
- So that the bone can heal properly and more quickly
- To decrease pain and prevent later deformity
- To regain use of the bone and limb
- Nerve damage
- Fat particles from the bone marrow or blood clots from veins that can dislodge and travel to the lungs
- Need for surgery if the bone does not heal properly
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Advanced age
- An open fracture (broken bone is sticking out of skin)
- Pre-existing medical condition
- Use of steroid medicine
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
- Provide a splint for the broken bone to decrease the risk of additional injury
- You may be given antibiotics if you have an open fracture.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also, arrange for help at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Rest your injured arm or leg on pillows. Elevate it above the level of your heart.
- Gently move uninjured joints and toes.
- Keep the cast, splint, and dressing clean and dry.
- Wait until a "walking cast" is dry before walking on it.
- Do not pull out the cast's padding. Do not break off any part of the cast.
- Keep objects, dirt, and powder out of the cast.
- Do not try to scratch under the cast.
- Do not drive until told it is safe.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Severe or unusual pain that is not relieved by pain medicine
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Numbness and/or tingling in the injured extremity
- Loss of movement in the fingers or toes of the injured arm or leg
- The cast feels too tight
- Burning or stinging sensations under the cast
- Redness of the skin around the cast
- Persistent itching under the cast
- Cracks or soft spots develop in the cast
- Chalky white, blue, or black discoloration of fingers, toes, arm, or leg
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org/
American Orthopedic Society http://www.sportsmed.org/tabs/Index.aspx/
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org/
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org/
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org/ . Accessed September 2, 2009.
Setting a broken bone without surgery (closed reduction). University of Michigan Health System website. Available at: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/aha%5Fclored%5Fcrs.htm . Updated January 2008. Accessed September 2, 2009.
¹10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Gosselin RA, Roberts I, Gillespie WJ. Antibiotics for preventing infection in open limb fractures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2009;(4):CD003764.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -