Finger Fracture Fixation
Contact: (0191) 282 5647 - Sister or Nurse in Charge, Ward 47, RVI
IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]
This information sheet is intended to help you understand the operation and the aftercare that will be necessary to achieve the best result possible.
What is a fracture?
A fracture is a break in a bone. The fracture can be made up of two or more pieces of bone and can often be very difficult to repair. It depends on the type of fracture as to what is the best treatment. Often wires are placed across the fracture site to hold the bones in place whilst bone healing takes place. These wires are often left protruding through the skin. Sometimes the bone needs to be seen by the surgeon. To do this a cut may be made in the skin over the site of the fracture. It is then fixed together with wires or small metal plates, screws or a combination of these techniques. The aim of the operation is to hold the broken bones in their normal position. If the treatment is not undertaken then the bone may heal in a poor position. This may interfere with the normal function of your hand.
During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]
The operation may be carried out under either a local or a general anaesthetic. An information leaflet is available which will provide you with the details you require regarding your anaesthetic (The Trust Information Leaflet ‘You and Your Anaesthetic’).
A tourniquet is usually applied to the affected arm. It is similar to a blood pressure cuff and is filled with air. This helps the surgeon maintain a dry, blood free operation site during the procedure. It is not always required. The fracture is looked at either using an x-ray machine or by the surgeon making a cut in the skin over the fracture site. The break in the bone is then joined together. If any incisions were made in the hand, then they are closed with stitches. A dressing and bandage are applied, often with a Plaster of Paris splint, to hold your fingers in the most comfortable position and to protect the fracture repair.
After the operation you will return to the ward. For most patients the length of stay is overnight after the operation, but occasionally you may be allowed home that same day. Appointments will be given to you, if you have any stitches, for them to be removed at 10 days and to be reviewed in an outpatient clinic in approximately four weeks. Your wounds should be kept covered by dressings until the stitches or wires are removed. Prior to discharge from hospital, our physiotherapist may see you and you may be given exercises to perform to move your fingers. The splint may need to be changed or modified. It is very important for you to work with your physiotherapist in order to get the best results from the fracture repair.
Initially you must refrain from driving. Your Consultant will advise you on this.
What are the risks?Show [+]Hide [-]
- If the wound becomes infected you may require a course of antibiotics.
- At first your scar may be tender or painful.
- The wound may not heal properly and may require regular dressings until it does.
- Stiff finger joints.
- Deformity of the fracture repair, which may need further surgery.
- Occasionally the fracture does not heal and further surgery may be required in order for the bones to heal.
- An overlying tendon may stick to the healed bone and may require a further operation to free the tendon.
- If the fracture has gone through a joint, then the involved joint may be at a higher risk of developing arthritis in the future.
- Very rarely there is an alteration in the way your hand sweats. This may cause swelling and discomfort from the hand.
- If it is cold your hand maybe uncomfortable, discoloured or stiff.
- Bending (Contracture) of the finger towards the palm.
For most patients their operation does not involve these complications and they are pleased with the results of surgery. This sheet is not a complete list of all the possible complications, but it is provided to act as an additional source of information, following your discussion about the operation.
If you require any further information or advice please contact:
Sister or Nurse in Charge Plastic Surgery Out Patient Department, RVI
Telephone: (0191) 282 4228 (direct line) Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm, or
Sister or Nurse in Charge Ward 47, RVI
Telephone: (0191) 282 5647 (direct line).