Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) repairs of the bones in and around the elbow are a common method to fix severe elbow fractures that can’t be set externally and fixed with just a splint and sling.
ORIF methods are used to repair the distal humerus (lower part of the upper arm bone), T-Condylar (humerus joint that makes up the elbow), radial head (upper part of the smaller lower arm bone), and Olecranon (the other elbow joint part found at the end of the ulna, the larger lower arm bone).
If any of these bones are shattered or displaced, ORIF surgery and often surgical hardware are used to repair them.
Shatters or severe, displace breakage of the bones in and around the elbow often require the use of surgical hardware to put the bones back together and allow them to heal properly. Wires, nails, or pins may be used to hold the bones in place and allow them to fuse back together correctly. This keeps the patients from experiencing complications related to malunion, where the bones fuse together misaligned, or nonunion, where they don’t fuse together at all.
ORIF elbow repair is often used on elderly patients as an alternative to a total elbow replacement. As with any surgery, there are minor risks, including implant failure, but such malfunctions are not common. For the most part, ORIF procedures require minimal hospitalization and provide the most efficient healing possible.