Open Reduction Internal Fixation (Ankle Fracture, Broken Ankle)

Open reduction internal fixation is a surgical procedure used to realign and stabilize ankles bones after a fracture. While some broken ankles do not require surgery, more complex breaks will not heal well without surgical intervention, especially if more than one of the three ankle bones have been broken. Open reduction refers to the repositioning of bones during surgery, and internal fixation refers to the use of hardware, such as pins, screws, and plates, to stabilize the bones until they heal.

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Provider List

2900 12th Avenue North #140W & #100E
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 237-5050

When Procedure is Used

If the fracture causes the bones in your ankle to be severely out of place, if they have punctured your skin, or if there are multiple fragments of bone, you will likely need to have surgery to repair the injury. The surgical procedure allows the doctor to realign the parts of your ankle before securing them in place.

During Surgery

Most likely you will be given a general anesthesia to help you relax and sleep through the procedure. The doctor will then realign the bones in your ankle to their correct positions before using a combination of pins, screws, and plates to secure them in place. This hardware also provides stability to the joint as it heals so that the bones remain in place as they heal.


The risk of complications is very low. However, potential risks might include

  • allergic reactions to medications
  • nerve and tissue damage
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • irritation from the hardware


  • improved alignment of broken bones
  • greater stability in the ankle during healing

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