Fracture Care

Get to know the types of fractures and available treatment options

ORIF (Open Reduction Internal Fixation)

A broken bone must be carefully fixed in position and supported until it is strong enough to bear weight. Until the last century, physicians relied on casts and splints to support the bone from outside the body (external fixation). But the development of sterile surgery reduced the risk of infection so that doctors could work directly with the bone and could implant materials in the body.

New materials such as stainless steel, cobalt and titanium were not only durable, but also had the strength and the flexibility necessary to support the bone. These materials are also compatible with the body and rarely cause an allergic reaction or implant failure.

The most common types of internal fixation are wires, plates, rods, pins, nails, and screws used inside the body to support the bone directly.

Types of Fractures

  • Open Fracture (also called a compound fracture) – The bone exists and is visible through the skin or a deep wound that exposes the bone through the skin
  • Closed Fracture (also called a simple fracture) – The bone is broken but the skin is intact

Fractures have a variety of names. Below is a list of the most common types.

  • Greenstick – incomplete fracture. The bone is not completely separated.

  • Spiral – fracture that occurs as a result of twisting.

  • Transverse – the break is in a straight line across the bone.

  • Complete – a fracture marked by complete fragmentation of the bone.

  • Incomplete – the 2 pieces of the bone are radially joined to some extent.

  • Compression – a closed fracture that occurs when two or more bones are forced against each other.

  • Stress Fracture – a common overuse injury. Most often seen in athletes such as runners, ballet dancers, and basketball players.

  • Displaced – the bone snaps into two parts in such a manner that the bone ceases to maintain alignment.

  • Non-Displaced – this is when the bone cracks; however, it remains aligned and positioned.

  • Hairline – this happens when the force causing the injury is insufficient to cause major trauma to the bone, and so the bone does not fragmentize.