From the youngest to the oldest of patients, upper extremity fractures are a common part of our everyday practice at the Hand Center. A fracture is a broken bone. Fractures can be very simple or very complex in appearance as well as treatment. Each fracture is individually evaluated and treated by the doctor, taking into consideration the specific needs of each patient.
Splints/Orthoses and Casts
Many fractures in the fingers, hands, wrists and elbows can be treated without surgery. Most require some amount of immobilization to allow the fracture to heal. Depending on specific patient and fracture characteristics, this can be achieved with custom orthoses (splints) made on site by our therapy staff or by casts that are applied by our physicians/physician assistants.
When a fracture results in bone ends that are not appropriately aligned, you may need more than a cast or splint. You may require a procedure, either in the office under local anesthesia (numbing medicine) or in the operating room under general anesthesia, to reset your broken bones. Often, this type of procedure has been done in an Emergency Room prior to your arrival at The Hand Center. When done in the operating room, metal pins may be added to hold unstable fractures in place.
If a fracture has substantially shifted out of position or is unstable in a cast or splint, it may not be possible to treat it appropriately without an open surgery. This type of surgery is called an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF). It allows your surgeon to piece together your broken bone through one or more skin incisions, and fix the pieces together with metal implants such as pins, wires, plates or screws. Your doctor will discuss the specifics of surgery with you at your pre-operative visit.