Medical Q&As

Fractured bone - remove metal plate?

I broke my ankle in September and had a plate with six screws inserted. Ten months later my ankle is almost back to normal but I'm aware of the plate and the broken ankle feels different to the other one. Also I feel occasional pain where the break was. Is it advisable to have the plate removed or is it preferable to leave it in indefinitely?

Most orthopaedic plates are made of stainless steel or titanium. Once they are attached to the fractured bone most of these plates can stay in the body indefinitely unless the person is experiencing problems. It is not unusual for people to experience pain at the fracture site for some time after the insertion of the plate and if such pain is severe it may necessitate the removal of the plate. Sometimes plate removal is the only remedy that will eliminate the pain. Bear in mind that if a plate has to removed it does require a further operation under general anaesthesia. As a general rule of thumb if a person is oblivious to the presence of a metal plate it is perfectly safe to leave the plate in place for good.