Management of open fractures


The fractures occurring in bones are common these days. The fracture causes the bones to break in fragments. Some fractures are mild while some occur in severe form. In some persons, the fragments of bone come out of the skin. Such fractures are known as open or compound fractures. Highly-energized trauma or injury mainly results in open fractures. The fracture induces pain, swelling, and stiffness at the affected site.

Management-of-open-fracturesThe open fractures can vary from moderate to severe. In moderate or mild condition, the wound appears to be very small in size. The bone may or may not be visible. They often cause damage to nearby nerves, tendons or other structures in the body. To determine the complexity of fracture, various tests are done. X-rays, MRI scan, blood and urine test helps to view the fracture and analyze proper treatment measures.


Soon after the injury, the doctor prescribes antibiotics to patient. It helps to control pain and other symptoms. In addition, tetanus is given to the patient to avoid chances of infection. The other methods opted to avoid infection are:

  • Debridement

The debridement procedure aims to clear out all dirt, unhealthy muscles or fragments, and other tissues which cause harm to the body. The loss in bone is corrected afterwards using additional surgeries.

  • Irrigation

A large amount of saline solution is used to clean the wound. In this way, any chance of infection is wiped out.

For treating fractures, it is important to stabilize the broken bones. The surgical methods are mostly used for this purpose. The surgeries include:

  • Internal Fixation

In internal fixation procedure, the bone fragments or tissues are initially reduced to their original shape and size. Special metal implants such as screws, rods, or plates are used to hold the fragments in fixed position. This method shows more successful results than any other method.

  • External Fixation

External fixation is a method in which implants are used externally. It places implants both above and below the fractured site. The implants used are screws, pins, or wires. They are attached to a metal bar placed outside the skin. These implants are helpful to support the bones in general alignment.


Post-to-surgery the patients are advised to stay an overnight in hospital for proper observation. Stiffness, weakness, and some other discomforts are felt by the patient. Medications help to control these symptoms. Use ice packs on the affected area to prevent swelling. During healing process, simple exercises are essential to restore original functionality. Recovery depends upon the type and area of fracture. Also the type of surgery determines the duration of recovery process. Usually it takes 1-2 months for complete fracture recovery.


The risks involved are:

  • Pro-longed healing
  • Permanent disability
  • Severe swelling and stiffness
  • Infection


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