Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a type of surgery used to stabilize and heal a broken bone. You might need this procedure to treat your broken ankle. Three bones make up the ankle joint. These are the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (the smaller bone in your leg), and the talus (a bone in your foot).
Different kinds of injuries can damage the lower tibia, lower fibula, or talus. In some cases, you might break more than one of these bones. In certain types of fractures, your bone breaks but the pieces still line up correctly. In other types of fractures, the injury can move the bone fragments out of alignment.
If you fracture your ankle, you might need ORIF to move your bones back into place and help them heal. During an open reduction surgery, orthopedic surgeons reposition your bone pieces so that they are back in their proper alignment. In a closed reduction, a healthcare provider physically moves the bones back into place without surgically exposing the bone.
Internal fixation refers to the method of physically reconnecting the bones. This might involve special screws, plates, rods, wires, or nails that we place inside your bones to hold them in their correct place. This prevents the bones from healing abnormally.
Surgery will depend on the location and severity of your injury. The whole operation may take a few hours. In general, you can expect the following: