Open fracture

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 03 Sep 2019

An open or compound fracture or dislocation (antonym: closed fracture) refers to a fracture or dislocation associated with soft tissue injury where the fractured bone or dislocated joint is in direct communication with the outside environment.

It is of surgical importance due to the high risk of microbial contamination and hence almost always treated with surgical decontamination. There is also an increased risk of healing complications 1.

Please see the Gustilo Anderson classification of open fractures for detailed descriptions of grading soft tissue injury associated with open fractures and dislocations.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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