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.
External fixation is a technique used to help heal severely broken bones. This type of orthopedic treatment involves securing the fracture with a specialized device called a fixator, which is external to the body. Using special bone screws (commonly called pins) that pass through the skin and muscle, the fixator is connected to the damaged bone to keep it in proper alignment as it heals.
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.
Staples and clamps are also used occasionally for osteotomy or fracture fixation. Autogenous bone grafts, allografts, and bone graft substitutes are frequently used for the treatment of bone defects of various causes. For infected fractures as well as for treatment of bone infections, antibiotic beads are frequently used.