HOT TOPIC: Update on the Management of Open Fractures

Abstract

Treatment of a bone fracture is the most common orthopaedic operation, and frequently these surgeries involve open fractures. An open fracture is a fracture that communicates with an overlying break in the skin. This communication between bone and the external environment adds an additional level of complexity to the treatment algorithm. The principles of treatment of open fractures include early administration of systemic antibiotics, surgical débridement, and fracture stabilization. Recent evidence has questioned some of these traditional treatment principles, and suggests that not all compound fractures require surgery or antibiotics, and that treatment can be immediate or staged. This article provides an overview on the management of open fractures, with special emphasis on new techniques of treatment.

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