Fractures - Treatment Options

The three main treatment options for bone fractures are:

  • Casting
  • Open reduction, and internal fixation- this involves a surgery to repair the fracture-frequently, metal rods, screws or plates are used to repair the bone, and remain in place, under the skin, after the surgery. This procedure is recommended for complicated fractures not able to be realigned (reduced) by casting, or in cases in which the long-term use of a cast is undesirable.
  • Open reduction, and external fixation- this involves a surgery to repair the fracture, and placement of a external fixation device on the limb with the fracture. This device is an external frame which supports the bone and hold it in the correct position while it is healing. This technique is generally applied to complex fractures that cannot be repaired using open reduction, and internal fixation.

Surgical repair is recommended for complicated fractures that cannot be realigned (reduced) by nonsurgical methods. This is especially true of fractures that involve joints. Poorly aligned joint surfaces may contribute to the development of arthritis.

The length of the hospital stay depends on the:

  • Condition of the blood and nerve supply
  • Condition of the bone
  • Presence of an infection
  • Presence of other injuries

Most fractures heal in 6 - 12 weeks. Children's bones heal rapidly, usually in 6 weeks.