The External Fixation Process, Fractures and Broken Bones

External Fixations:

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.

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
  • Arthrodesis
  • Ligamentotaxis
  • Osteotomies

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.

Precautions:

  • 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.

Source: http://www.indianorthopaedic.com/external-fixators.html

Advantages of External Fixation

External Fixation SystemExternal fixation is a procedure of immobilizing bones that enables a fracture to heal. This procedure is done by placing screws or pins on both sides of the fracture into the bone. After this, the pins are secured together using rods and with clamps outside the skin. The rods and clamps are also known as the external frame.

Advantages of External Fixation

Here is a list of advantages provided by external fixation.

  • This procedure allows direct surveillance of the wound and limb status, which includes tense muscle compartments, wound healing, viability of skin flaps, and neurovascular status.
  • This process is quick as well as easily applied.
  • The risk of infection is minimal at the site of the fracture.
  • Other treatment linked with fracture, such as irrigation, bone grafting, skin grafting and dressing changes is possible without disturbing the fixation or alignment of the fracture.
  • This process allows simultaneous and aggressive treatment of both soft tissues and bone.
  • With external fixation the limb can be positioned and moved without the stress of fracture position loss.
  • With this procedure, fixed distraction, Compression or neutralization is possible of the fracture fragments. Moreover, the instant motion of the distal and proximal joints is also allowed. This helps in reducing nutrition and edema of articular surfaces as well as hampers joint stiffening, capsular fibrosis, osteoporosis and muscle atrophy.

Generally, this procedure is used in traumatic and serious injuries as they result in quick stabilization, however, the soft-tissues are still accessible and visible.  An external fixator helps in providing accessibility which is specifically crucial when there is major damage to blood vessels, skin, nerves, or muscle.

There are a number of indications where it is highly applicable to use external fixator. GPC Medical Limited offers a comprehensive variety of external fixation systems for addressing an extensive range of fracture patterns in multiple anatomic locations.

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