The basic goal of fracture fixation is to stabilize the fractured bone, to enable fast healing of the injured bone, and to return early mobility and full function of the injured extremity.
Fractures can be treated conservatively or with external and internal fixation. Conservative fracture treatment consists of closed reduction to restore the bone alignment. Subsequent stabilization is then achieved with traction or external splinting by slings, splints, or casts. Braces are used to limit range of motion of a joint. External fixators provide fracture fixation based on the principle of splinting.
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.
There are three basic types of external fixators: standard uniplanar fixator, ring fixator, and hybrid fixator.
The numerous devices used for internal fixation are roughly divided into a few major categories: wires, pins and screws, plates, and intramedullary nails or rods.
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