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What is open reduction and fixation? [Video]

Ask the Expert: Hand Video Series

About the video: What is open reduction and fixation?

Summit Orthopedic surgeons Debra Parisi, M.D. and J.P. Delaney, M.D. explain open reduction and fixation.

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Video Transcription

Open reduction is what we do in the operating room. What we do is we open up the skin, move the muscle and tendons and soft tissues out of the way, and we get down to the bone. We clean out the fracture site, we put the bone back into good position, and then we need to hold it there. And fixation is the term that we use for whatever means we use to hold the fracture. So reduction puts the bone back together, and then fixation methods such as plate, screws, pinning – that holds the fracture in place while we’re waiting for the bone to heal. Determining whether a patient needs an open reduction versus a closed reduction and percutaneous pinning is often dependent on one, the fracture pattern and, two, the patients themselves. When doing an internal fixation, placing the screws that we use oftentimes are left and for the remainder of life. WB65snOHfWjUe do take them out sometimes on a schedule basis if we know that they’re going to be irritating to the patient. In some areas of the body where there’s not a lot of tissue over the bone, the plate can become very prominent, and it can irritate either the skin or the tendons overlying them. And in those cases, we’ll take them out.