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      The mechanics of external fixation.

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          Abstract

          External fixation has evolved from being used primarily as a last resort fixation method to becoming a main stream technique used to treat a myriad of bone and soft tissue pathologies. Techniques in limb reconstruction continue to advance largely as a result of the use of these external devices. A thorough understanding of the biomechanical principles of external fixation is useful for all orthopedic surgeons as most will have to occasionally mount a fixator throughout their career. In this review, various types of external fixators and their common clinical applications are described with a focus on unilateral and circular frames. The biomechanical principles that govern bony and fixator stability are reviewed as well as the recommended techniques for applying external fixators to maximize stability. Additionally, we have illustrated methods for managing patients while they are in the external frames to facilitate function and shorten treatment duration.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          HSS J
          HSS journal : the musculoskeletal journal of Hospital for Special Surgery
          1556-3316
          1556-3316
          Feb 2007
          : 3
          : 1
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Institute, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA. FragomenA@hss.edu
          Article
          10.1007/s11420-006-9025-0
          18751766
          beca99e4-7517-48d5-b442-bc437580a932
          History

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