Last Updated: 8/24/2023

Iowa workers in certain industries such as construction or manufacturing may be at greater risk of workplace accidents that can lead to broken bones than the standard office worker. Unfortunately, treatment for a broken bone injury may include a surgery known as an open reduction with internal fixation which can force a worker to take weeks off from work while healing.

Here’s what you need to know about the surgery, recovery options, and what to do if you were injured through no fault of your own, and now need help due to lost time at work.

What is an open reduction with internal fixation surgery?

Doctors may perform open reduction with internal fixation on bones that would not heal properly with splinting or casting alone. Doctors might recommend the surgery when the bone breaks into multiple pieces, is sticking out of the skin, is out of alignment, or hasn’t properly healed from a prior reduction surgery. Doctors might recommend the surgery under other circumstances as well.

During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision to expose the bone. Then, the surgeon puts the bone back into its proper position and fixes the bone in place using an internal fixation device, like screws, rods, pins, or plates. Finally, the surgeon closes the laceration.

Potential Complications and Recovery Time

While open reduction and internal fixation surgery is usually very safe, complications can and do develop in certain situations. Below are some possible complications of surgery.

  • Infection
  • Blood clotting
  • Nerve damage
  • Pain
  • Incomplete healing
  • Muscle spasms

Assuming that all goes well, the average hospital stay is up to a week, depending upon the patient and the extent of the injury. Following being released from the hospital, complete recovery time can be anywhere from several months to up to a year.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Iowa

If you suffered a broken bone injury on the job and require surgery, then workers’ compensation insurance should pay for the surgery and any related medical expenses. Workers’ compensation can even include disability benefits to replace a portion of your wages; this might include temporary or permanent total or partial disability benefits. It is important that you inform your employer of your injury within 90 days and then file your claim within two years. If you do not, you may not be able to recover the benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled.

Third-party Liability Claim for Damages

If you believe your workplace injury was the result of a third party’s negligence, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of machinery or a third-party driver, then you may be able to file a claim for damages outside of the workers’ compensation system. This is a third-party liability claim. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering that you experience.

Contact an Iowa Workers Comp Lawyer

If you would like to learn more about Iowa work injuries including 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid if You are Hurt at Work order a copy of our book “Iowa Workers’ Compensation- An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries” by clicking the link or by calling 641-792-3595Why offer a Book at No Cost?  Iowa Work Injury Attorney Corey J. L. Walker offers his book at no cost because he has represented hundreds of Iowans hurt on the job and seen too many clients make mistakes before they knew about how much they should receive which cost them thousands of dollars.  Iowans injured at work are beginning to realize that the insurance company is not there to help them and they should learn about the laws that affect them and their claim.  Finally, you can learn about Iowa work injuries in the comfort of your own home with no risk, cost or obligation.  For immediate assistance call (641) 792-3595 and ask for Corey or Erik. 


Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.