We’re all acquainted with the non-surgical approaches that help a broken bone heal: the doctor applies a cast, brace or splint around a fracture or a corrected bone deformity to provide support during the healing process. In some cases, however, particularly more severe injuries, today’s best orthopaedic treatment includes securing the fracture externally with a device called a fixator that is connected to the affected bone with special bone screws, often referred to as pins. The device remains outside the body (external) and the pins pass through the skin and muscle to secure the bone in proper alignment.
External fixation helps to maintain alignment of the fractured bone when a cast may be inadvisable. However, these devices do require that you take care of them and the pin sites to help prevent infection. Among other complications, an infection may create the need to remove the device and may compromise the proper healing of your fracture or repair.