External Fixation Surgery
External fixation is a device used by Forrest City Medical Center podiatrists to immobilize feet or ankles while healing. Benefits of this surgery are early weight bearing on the surgical foot and faster bone healing. The device also gives easy access for any needed wound care due to trauma.
Called external fixation because the device is outside of the body instead of screws or plates that may be surgically implanted, this method can be used for:
- Foot or ankle fractures
- Fusions/healing two bones together
- Diabetic foot reconstruction
- Immobilization during wound healing
For healing of a fracture, your podiatrist will begin by placing pins or screws into the bone through small incisions into the skin and muscle on both sides of a fracture. The pins are then secured together and attached to a frame outside the skin with clamps and rods. This external frame can be manipulated in three dimensions to place the foot and ankle in the proper position. This system is placed during surgery by your podiatrist, usually under general anesthesia. It will stay in place for eight to twelve weeks on average and then removed under light anesthesia.
Care following surgery is important and will be explained to you by your podiatry care team. Your foot must remain elevated the first week after surgery. For the first two weeks after surgery, you will only be permitted to weight bear on the operated foot/ankle for transfers only. Your Forrest City Medical Center surgeon will let you know when full weight bearing and driving is allowed, dependent on which foot/ankle the external fixator is applied.
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