The humerus is the upper arm bone. A fracture of the proximal humerus, the region closest to the shoulder joint, can cause pain and decreased mobility of the arm. The elderly are more prone to proximal humerus fractures from accidents such as falling on an outstretched arm. They may also occur in young people involved in high-impact accidents.
Most fractures of the proximal humerus can be treated without surgery if the bone fragments are not shifted out of position (displaced). However, with severe fractures in which bone fragments are shifted out of position, surgical intervention such as ORIF is required. Other factors influencing the decision to perform surgery include age of the patient, bone quality, blood supply to the area and ability to tolerate the post-operative rehabilitation.
ORIF stands for Open Reduction Internal Fixation. ORIF is a minimally-invasive surgery that is employed in severe proximal humerus fractures to restore normal anatomy and improve range of motion and function. The ORIF surgery involves the reduction of the fracture and securing the correctly aligned bones to allow healing. During this procedure, an incision will be made and a metal plate will be attached to the humerus to hold the bone in place while it heals.