The humerus is the upper arm bone. Fracture of this bone often can be treated with a cast or brace and a sling. More severe breaks will require surgery to be repaired. Surgical repairs may include inserting surgical hardware or even a metal rod to stabilize the bone.
If the humerus has multiple breaks or one where the bone is fractured and dislocated, surgery may be necessary to ensure the bone heals properly. In these cases, open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) surgery or Intramedullary rod (IM rodding) may be necessary.
During ORIF surgery, an incision is made near the break so the broken ends of the humerus can be realigned. Metal plates or screws are often put in to hold the fractured bones in place and stabilize the humerus.
In IM rodding surgery, an incision is made near the elbow or the shoulder, and a metal rod is inserted through the shaft of the bone to keep the bone in place while it heals.
Both surgeries allow for faster and more precise healing, as well as faster recovery times for the patient. Patients are able to move their shoulders and elbows sooner, so they don’t become as stiff as with braces or slings.