What has gone wrong?
A fractured tibia usually follows an injury. Usually, the greater the force of the injury, the more serious the fracture. The broken ends of bone may be still in their correct place (undisplaced), or out of place (displaced).
The aims of the operation are to get the broken ends of the bone back into place (reduction) and to hold them in place while the fracture heals.
The operation will stop your leg hurting. You can get out of bed the day after your operation. You will need crutches. You will not need a plaster cast.
Are there any alternatives?
Many tibial fractures can be treated by manipulation to reduce them and a plaster cast for 2 months or longer, to hold them in place. Manipulation means returning the bones to the correct position by pushing and pulling, without cutting the skin. The decision depends on the nature of the fracture.
In some cases, it is clearly better to treat the fracture surgically. For example, an unstable, displaced fracture, or one that has slipped out of position while in a cast will need holding with metalwork. In many cases, the choice between surgery and treatment in a plaster is evenly balanced. With surgery, you avoid having your leg in a cast for 3 months or more, your mobility following surgery is greater, the likelihood of the fracture healing is higher and your knee and ankle do not get stiff as they can do in a cast. Against this, you need to weigh the risk of infection in the metalwork. If your fracture cannot be held properly in a cast and you are not fit enough for surgery, we would treat you with bed rest and traction.