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Learning About Closed Reduction of a Fractured Bone

Close-up of a broken wrist

What is a closed reduction?

A closed reduction is a procedure to line up the ends of a broken (fractured) bone without the need for surgery. This will help the fractured bone heal correctly. It may be done right after your injury or several days later.

How is a closed reduction done?

Your doctor will give you medicine to help you relax and help with pain. The doctor will push or pull the ends of the fractured bone until they line up. This part of the procedure is called reduction. Then your doctor will put a cast or splint on the affected arm or leg to help hold the bone in place while it heals. The doctor will take an X-ray to check that the bone is properly lined up.

What can you expect after a closed reduction?

Most people go home right after the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home. You may need extra help at home, especially if you live alone or provide care for another person. You may have some mild bone pain or aching for 2 to 3 weeks.

It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks for a fractured bone to heal. This depends on your age, which bone you fractured, the type of fracture you have, and how badly the bone was injured. You will need to wear a cast or splint until the bone has healed.

How soon you can return to work and your normal routine depends on your job and how long it takes the bone to heal. If you have a fractured leg and you sit at work, you may be able to go back within several days. But if your job requires a lot of standing or walking, you will need to wait until your fracture has healed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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