Fractures supported by rods and frames

Internal fixation for fractures

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF)

About internal fixation

Sometimes a broken bone needs more than just a cast or splint.

In these cases, special equipment such as frames, rods, screws and plates may be inserted to keep fractured bones in place and help it set. This allows a fractured bone to heal in the correct shape.

Various kinds of metal equipment may be used to keep bones in place — all sterile to avoid infection. Some may be removed and some may stay in your body.
  • Plates - these hold pieces of broken bone together and are attached with screws.
  • Screws - these can hold bones together themselves or attach plates and rods.
  • Rods - these support fractures in longer bones. They're inserted through the hollow centre of the bone to stop it rotating or shortening.
  • Wires and pins - these can be used to hold pieces of smaller bone together.
  • Frames - these are fitted to the outside of your body to keep a bone in the right position.

Need to know

  • What happens during open reduction surgery? icon plus

    Internal fixation (fixing metal implants into your bones to help them heal) typically happens under anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep throughout. Bone fragments are pieced back in their original position.

    X-ray is used during surgery to confirm the pieces are in the correct position. Then, metal pieces such as screws, plates or cages are secured to the fractured bone fragments.

    This keeps individual parts of the fractured bone firmly in place so that it heals properly. The procedure may take several hours, depending on the complexity of the fracture.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Often, this procedure is carried out as an emergency, so it can be hard to prepare for. Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

    Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    After your surgery, your consultant will X-ray your joints to make sure they are still aligned and that the procedure was a success. Once you have recovered from the surgery, a member of the physiotherapy will work with you to help restore strength and flexibility to your muscles.

    You may need further physiotherapy as an outpatient Your return to work will depend on your occupation and which part of your body was fractured.

Our orthopaedic consultants

From complex orthopaedic surgery to diagnostic tests and scans procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our locations

From complex orthopaedic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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