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. 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.
Copyright RSNA, 2003