What is a radial head fracture fixation?
In Type 2 and 3 fractures where the bone has broken and moved out of its normal position, a radial head fracture fixation may be needed. Dr. Mazzara uses a treatment called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF.) ORIF is a type of surgery used to move bones back into their correct position to facilitate healing.
During an open reduction, Dr. Mazzara manually moves the broken pieces of the radial head into their correct position. Similarly, a closed reduction would mean the bones are moved back into position without surgically exposing the bone.
Radial head fracture fixation refers to the surgical part of the treatment of type 2 and type 3 fractures. In this procedure, Dr. Mazzara physically attaches the bones together to “fix” them in their proper place. He may use screws, wires or special nails to hold them together to heal correctly. Selected fractures of the radial head may require removal (excision) of the fractured bone fragments or possibly radial head arthroplasty, which is a replacement of the fractured radial head with a metal implant.
What happens after radial head fracture fixation?
Radial head fracture fixation for patients in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities is usually done under general anesthesia. Depending on the patient age, health and type of fracture surgery can be done on an outpatient basis. Dr. Mazzara’s patients can expect the following procedures after a radial head fracture fixation:
- A splint and sling will be worn immediately following surgery for several weeks to keep the elbow immobile and to allow the bones to heal.
- Pain medication will be prescribed as necessary and based on the patients’ pain levels.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is not suggested at this point as it can interfere and slow bone healing. Please take only medication as directed by Dr. Mazzara.
- Ice may be needed to help with swelling and pain. Dr. Mazzara’s team will instruct patients on wound care and other post-operative directions.
- Mazzara will want to see the patient in his office in about a week to make sure healing is occurring in the proper manner.
- Eventually physical therapy will be recommended to aid in range of motion and to regain strength in the elbow.
For more information on radial head fracture fixation, please contact the offices of Dr. James Mazzara, orthopedic elbow surgeon, treating patients in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.