Medical Apparatus: Imaging Guide to Orthopedic Devices

Orthopedic Devices

Joint Arthroplasty

Conservative Fracture Treatment

Internal Fixation - pins, wires, and screws

Internal Fixation - plates

Internal Fixation - rods and nails

Internal Fixation - bone grafts and bone substitutes

Carbon Fiber Implants

Fracture Fixation References

Joint Arthroplasty References




Fracture Fixation

by Tim B Hunter, MD, MSc



Bone fractures can be complete or incomplete, simple or comminuted, closed or open. Comminuted fractures comprise more than two bone fragments, and open fractures are associated with an open skin wound (Ruedi, 2007). Many fractures are treated non-operatively. However, a large number of fractures require operative treatment. If a fracture that requires operative treatment is not treated, nature tries to stabilize the mobile fragments by pain-induced contraction of the surrounding muscles, which may lead to bone shortening. The end result of this process frequently is the lack of proper bone alignment and impaired function, malunion or nonunion (Ruedi, 2007; Benjamin, 1994; Wiss, 2013; Berquist, 1995; Freiberg, 2001; Hunter, 2001).

The basic goals of fracture fixation are to stabilize the fractured bone, enable fast healing of the injured bone, and return early mobility and full function to the injured extremity. For lower extremity fractures, stability for weight bearing is the main goal. In the upper extremity, restoration of functional hand and arm motion is most important. For diaphyseal fractures, proper alignment of the fracture fragments is all that is needed for adequate function and prompt healing of the fracture, whereas intra-articular fractures require precise anatomic reduction with articular congruency being paramount.

There are two main types of fracture fixation: internal and external. All internal and external fixation methods that allow appreciable interfragmentary movement under functional weight bearing are considered flexible fixation. Techniques that use compression are considered rigid fixation (Ruedi, 2007; Benjamin, 1994; Wiss, 2013).


Conservative Fracture Treatment



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Tim Hunter

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