Internal fixation is a surgical procedure that treats an unstable bone fracture by surgically implanting plates, screws, or pins to hold the bone fragments in place. Typically, the components are not removed even after the bone heals.

Compared with external fixation, internal plating has the advantage of allowing earlier mobilization and less complicated casting. The biggest drawback is its potential effect of irritating tendons near the components, causing tendinopathy and possible tendon rupture. However, the risk of this complication is decreasing as newer plate designs are thinner.

Illustration of an internal fixation of a distal radius fracture

Internal fixation of a distal radius fracture