External Fixation in a Femur Fracture

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April 01, 2019
Edward Smith

External Fixation in a Femur Fracture

External fixation in a femur fracture is one of the emergency treatment options for a broken leg. The femur connects the hip to the knee and helps to support a significant percentage of an individual’s body weight. As one of the thickest bones in the body, it is challenging to break; however, a femur fracture is a common injury in a traumatic accident. If an individual presents with leg pain or a visible broken bone, there are several factors which will dictate the treatment of the injury. A few of these include:

  • The location of the fracture along the femur.
  • Whether or not the fracture is open and exposed to the outside environment.
  • Whether or not the bone fragments have been displaced from their correct locations.
  • The presence of any associated injuries such as other fractures, blood vessel injuries, or nerve damage.
  • The overall health of the individual who suffered a broken leg.

Once this information has been obtained, the doctor will have to decide how the fracture will be repaired. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals and their loved ones to understand some basic information on the various treatment options of femur fractures, including external fixation.

What is External Fixation?

Internal and external fixation are two standard methods that are used to repair a bone fracture. These fixation procedures are used when the bones have been displaced from their anatomic location. Screws and nails are used to hold the fragments in place as the bone heals. The differences between the two fixation methods are:

  • Internal fixation is a surgical procedure that involves opening the skin and placing the nails and screws directly into the bone fragments. Then, the skin is closed, and the bones are allowed to heal.
  • An external fixation procedure is performed by placing the nails and screws into the bones directly through the skin. In this procedure, nails and screws are inserted into the skin both above and below the location of the fracture.

After the nails and screws have been put in place, they are attached to an external device. This device can be adjusted to ensure that the bones remain in place as the bones of the femur heal.

When is External Fixation Used?

While external fixation sounds traumatic, it plays an important role in the healing process. There are a few situations in which external fixation could be used. A few of the examples include:

  • An individual has suffered a fracture of the femoral shaft.
  • The patient is not able to go to surgery immediately after arriving at the hospital, and the bones should still be immobilized.
  • The skin over the fracture site has already been damaged, and little further damage will be caused by external fixation.

Of note, many fractures take weeks or months to heal. It is not common for someone to have an external fixation device attached to them for this long due to logistical reasons, pain, and infection risks.

In many cases, external fixation is only meant as a temporary healing measure. It will keep the bones still so that they cannot move and cause further injury. After external fixation, individuals frequently head to the operating room for internal fixation.

Watch YouTube Video: External Fixation with Locking Plate. In this video, Dr. Nabil Ebraheim explains how some certain fractures can be treated with an external fixator.

Contacting an Injury Lawyer

External fixation is one of the emergency treatment options that could be used in the repair of a femur fracture; however, it is only temporary. Many individuals will require surgery to repair their broken leg. This can leave families with a lot of questions and uncertainty regarding the future. Because of this, families should know that legal assistance can help families during the recovery process. Discussing the options with a femur fracture lawyer in Sacramento can help families by:

  • Providing them with an objective, professional presence who can review the options with the family and help them make decisions.
  • Taking a look at the records from the accident to ensure that none of the details have been forgotten or misinterpreted.
  • Transitioning a case to trial when needed.

Most importantly, everyone should feel comfortable seeking help following a serious accident. Discuss the case with a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer as quickly as possible. You could receive a financial award.

Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Femur Fracture Lawyer in Sacramento. External fixation is a method that is used to immobilize a leg following a femur fracture. If you or a loved one has been involved in a severe accident and subsequently required surgery to repair a fracture of the femur, call me when you are able at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I am honored to have been inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the  Top One Percent, a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

My guests are always welcome to see our verdicts or settlements.

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Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels
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