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The Mechanics of External Fixation

Image - Photo of Austin T. Fragomen, MD
Austin T. Fragomen, MD
Associate Attending of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery
Director, Limb Lengthening Clinic, Hospital for Special Surgery
Image - Photo of S. Robert Rozbruch, MD
S. Robert Rozbruch, MD
Chief, Limb Lengthening and Complex Reconstruction Service, Hospital for Special Surgery
Director, Limb Salvage and Amputation Reconstruction Center (LSARC), Hospital for Special Surgery

Abstract
External fixation has evolved from being used primarily as a last resort fixation method to becoming a main stream technique used to treat a myriad of bone and soft tissue pathologies. Techniques in limb reconstruction continue to advance largely due to the use of these external devices. A thorough understanding of the biomechanical principles of external fixation is useful for all orthopaedic surgeons as most will have to mount a fixator occasionally throughout their career. In this review various types of external fixators and their common clinical applications are described with a focus on unilateral and circular frames. The biomechanical principles that govern bony and fixator stability are reviewed as well as the recommended techniques for applying external fixators to maximize stability. Additionally, we have illustrated methods for managing patients while they are in the external frames to facilitate function and shorten treatment duration.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 3, Number 1.
View the full article at springerlink.com.


About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.

 

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