In the modern development of surgical tools, external fixators are utilized to stabilize and provide staunch rigidity to the bone and soft tissues. They are key tools that used for their indescribable convenience during surgery and operative procedures.
What are external fixators?
External fixators are basically tools that we use to provide surgical intervention in a matter of bone fractures or other bone discrepancies. It includes:
- Clamp: A clamping device is adjusted per a variation of sizes. It stabilizes the entire structure on to the designated bone.
- Schanz Pins: They fix the metal equipment in its place. It is placed in the structure to lock the rods in one place.
- Connecting rods: They are metal rods which contribute to the most important part of external fixators.
When do we need to use External Fixators?
This technique requires the utmost precision and is used to help treat patients in several cases.
- Open fractures that have severe implications in the long run.
- Nonunion regions of the bone require appropriate stabilization which is provided with the help of this technique.
- Length of the bone and limbs in general is a feature use of this equipment.
- Certain close fractures with soft tissue injuries.
- Pelvic ring disruptions
And other boney defects with soft tissues complication are also a great fit for external fixators.
How do we use it?
Holes are drilled onto the boney surface. It provides adequate space for fixing the metal rods in its place. We form a conjoining piece by combining the rod to a ball and socket joint. The external fixator can be aptly adjusted time and again by accessing the ball and socket joint.
External fixators are usually used to rectify a fracture that has no other alternative. But in the case for limb lengthening it is has a specific site. The surgeons allot to man-made fractures but dissecting the femur bone of the thigh and upper leg. This apparatus conveniently stretches the bone apart by slowly increasing the difference of length between the two parts of a bone. The most spectacular display would be the re-emerging of the bone substance in between this gap. The bone would grow and the limb lengthening procedure would be a success. This is referred to as the ‘distraction’ technique that requires immense patience for it to show results. It might take several months before there is any change whatsoever. Unlike the limb extension, fractures take a considerable shorter expansion of time. It has been observed that most fractures, big or small, only require 6-12 weeks at maximum to heal completely.
- Since this is an invasive procedure it is highly recommended to take special care for infection or foreign particles invading the body. Proper facilitation and precautions ensures a safe conduction of this surgical procedure.
- It is advisable to avoid weight bearing exercise, or excessive walking when you have an external fixator attached. This potentiates the effectivity of the entire procedure. It also prevents some undesirable complications.