What is external fixation of a fracture?

An external fixator acts as a stabilizing frame to hold the broken bones in proper position. In an external fixator, metal pins or screws are placed into the bone through small incisions into the skin and muscle. In many cases, external fixation is used as a temporary treatment for fractures.

External fixation: A procedure that stabilizes and joins the ends of fractured (broken) bones by a splint or cast. External fixation is as opposed to internal fixation in which the ends of the fractured bone are joined by mechanical devices such as metal plates, pins, rods, wires or screws.

Likewise, how long does an external fixator stay on? Typical external fixator patients wear the device from four to twelve months. The severity of the problem you need reconstructed, your health, weight and other factors play a role in the length of time you will need to wear the external fixator.

Correspondingly, what is external fixation used for?

An external fixation device may be used to keep fractured bones stabilized and in alignment. The device can be adjusted externally to ensure the bones remain in an optimal position during the healing process. This device is commonly used in children and when the skin over the fracture has been damaged.

What is internal and external fixation?

External fixation is a surgical treatment used to set bone fractures in which a cast would not allow proper alignment of the fracture. Internal fixation involves the surgical implementation of implants for the purpose of repairing a bone.

What happens after external fixator is removed?

After removal of the external fixator, the pin sites are not sutured closed, but are allowed to heal. They usually will close over within four to six days and small scars form.

Does external fixation hurt?

One of the inherent features of the external fixation is pain occurring during the whole treatment process. It is stated that there is a different pain pattern in time depending on the type of treatment and personal life activity.

Can you shower with an external fixator?

Showers with the External Fixator. You may not be allowed to shower with your frame unprotected for up to 3 weeks, or until all surgical wounds are healed. As long as there are no open wounds and your surgeon allows it, you can shower with the frame in place without covering it.

When should external fixators be removed?

An external fixator crossing a joint can often be removed within 3 or 4 weeks, and exercises can be initiated.

Can you walk with an external fixator?

Many patients are weight-bearing as tolerated with the external fixator. This means they can walk normally on the fixator, but they cannot run or jump. If you have any questions or concerns about your weight-bearing precautions, please contact a physician or physician assistant as soon as possible.

How does an external fixator work?

An external fixator acts as a stabilizing frame to hold the broken bones in proper position. In an external fixator, metal pins or screws are placed into the bone through small incisions into the skin and muscle. Other times, an external fixator can be used as the device to stabilize the bone until healing is complete.

What is a fixation device?

An internal fixation device may be used to keep fractured bones stabilized and in alignment. The device is inserted surgically to ensure the bones remain in an optimal position during and after the healing process.

How is an external fixator removal?

The tension is taken out of the external fixator as much as possible by undoing the nuts and bolts. The wires are cut close to the skin at one side, cleaned with antiseptic cleanser and pulled out at the other side. This procedure usually takes up to 30 minutes in total.

Is a cast considered external fixation?

Among these, external fixation is considered one of the more attractive treatment options, especially in cases of unstable distal radial fractures. Fracture reduction with traction, closed manipulation of the fragments and immobilization in a plaster cast is still widely used.

How do you care for an external fixator?

Patients are instructed to wash their hands, and using a fresh swab for each pin, remove any crust and then dry with a fresh swab. Additionally, patients are instructed to cleanse the length of each pin and wrap with loose gauze for about 5 days until pin sites are dry. No showering is advised until after 10 days.

Where do open fractures occur?

An open fracture, also called a compound fracture, is a fracture in which there is an open wound or break in the skin near the site of the broken bone. Most often, this wound is caused by a fragment of bone breaking through the skin at the moment of the injury.

How do you sleep with an external fixator?

The fixator adds extra weight and increased time to maneuver as you go about your day. Your sleep will be limited to one position – your back. Elevate the limb with the external device for comfort and security. You may want to sleep with the fixator frame cover on to avoid ripping the sheets.

Is external fixation an open reduction?

Open Reduction and External Fixation refers to techniques that use surgical hardware to stabilize a fracture from the outside of the skin. Your surgeon will make an incision and place your bones in the proper position for healing, then secure the bones with surgical pins that are placed through the outside of the skin.

How much does an external fixator weigh?

4 pounds