ORIF of the Distal Radius
There are many variations of distal radius fractures, but most are corrected with surgery. An Open Reduction Internal Fixation is the surgical correction of a distal radius fracture. This surgery involves making an incision and aligning the broken bones back into place. A combination of plates and screws are placed to hold the bones in place to allow the fracture to heal. This surgery typically lasts 1-2 hours and is performed on an outpatient basis meaning you will be able to go home that day.
Things to know:
- You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up.
- You will follow up with us in the office 1-2 days after the procedure. You will be sent for a custom splint that is removable for showering ONLY.
- After 48 hours you may shower. While showering, you may use soap and water, but be sure to pat the incision dry. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, washing dishes, etc.). While showering, it is important you do not use your hand/arm. After showering, pat incision dry and replace splint.
- It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling.
- Sutures will remain in place for 10-14 days.
- Typically follow up appointments are scheduled in two-week intervals following surgery, so we can monitor your recovery.
- You will wear your splint at all times for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you will be referred for Occupational Therapy of the affected hand and wrist.
- The splint will gradually be discontinued in the weeks to follow as you progress with occupational therapy. Your lifting restrictions will gradually be increased over the next 2-3 months.
Postoperative restrictions are as follows:
- NO use of the affected hand.
- Must wear splint at all times, except while showering.