1/22/14 – Open Vs. Closed Fracture Care

Question: When is open vs. closed fracture care appropriate to report?


Answer: Open fracture care is reported when the provider creates an opening to expose the bone to treat the fracture. Open fracture care is not performed in the emergency department; instead, the patient is taken to an operating room. Closed repair, by contrast, is made without an incision.


The patient may present with an open fracture (the bone pierces the skin), but may still receive closed fracture repair. For example, the provider may manipulate the bone back into place, repair the wound, and apply a cast.


The bottom line: The treatment performed dictates the type of fracture care reported, not the patient’s diagnosis.


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