(Setting a Fracture)
|Broken Bones in the Arm|
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Reasons for Procedure
- Allow the bond to heal properly and more quickly
- Decrease pain and prevent later deformity
- Regain use of the bone and limb
- Nerve damage
- Fat particles or blood clots dislodging and traveling to the lungs
- Need for surgery if the bone does not heal properly
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
- The use of certain medications
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- X-ray—to look for the broken bone
- Provide a splint for the broken bone to decrease the risk of additional injury until the fracture can be reduced
- You may be given antibiotics if you have an open fracture.
- If you at home arrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also, arrange for help at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
- Rest your injured arm or leg on pillows. Elevate it above the level of your heart.
- Gently move uninjured joints and toes.
- Keep the cast, splint, and dressing clean and dry.
- Wait until a walking cast is dry before walking on it.
- Do not pull out the cast's padding. Do not break off any part of the cast.
- Keep objects, dirt, and powder out of the cast.
- Do not try to scratch under the cast.
- Do not drive until you are told it is okay.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Severe or unusual pain that is not relieved by pain medication
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Numbness and/or tingling in the injured extremity
- Loss of movement in the fingers or toes of the injured arm or leg
- The cast feels too tight
- Burning or stinging sensations under the cast
- Redness of the skin around the cast
- Persistent itching under the cast
- Cracks or soft spots develop in the cast
- Chalky white, blue, or black discoloration of fingers, toes, arm, or leg
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Broken bones. Nemours' KidsHealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/aches/b%5Fbone.html. Updated October 2012. Accessed August 26, 2013.
Setting broken bones. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Orthopaedic-Center/Treatment/Setting-Broken-Bones.aspx. Accessed August 26, 2013.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Gosselin RA, Roberts I, Gillespie WJ. Antibiotics for preventing infection in open limb fractures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD003764.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/24/2014 -