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External Fixation

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Updated May 16, 2014

external fixator broken bone

An external fixator supports the bone from outside the skin.

Photo © Zoran Simin

Definition: External fixation is a method of immobilizing bones to allow a fracture to heal. External fixation is accomplished by placing pins or screws into the bone on both sides of the fracture. The pins are then secured together outside the skin with clamps and rods. The clamps and rods are known as the "external frame."

Some of the advantages of external fixation are that it is quickly and easily applied. The risk of infection at the site of the fracture is minimal, but there is a risk of infection where the pins are inserted from the skin into the bone.

Also Known As: External Fixator, External Frame

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