External Skeletal Fixation Device Home Care Instructions

Picture of external skeletal fixation in dog

An external skeletal fixation device consists of multiple pins and external bars that hold a fractured bone in place while healing takes place.

The best benefit of using an external skeletal fixation device to correct a broken leg is the ease of at-home maintenance.

External Skeletal Fixation Device Home Care Instructions

When you take your pet home from the hospital, there are three main things that the owner needs to be aware of:

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  • Confine your dog. It is very important to confine your dog to avoid additional injury. In a few short days, your dog will start bearing weight on the broken leg. This is a risk factor for further injury as the leg is stable yet the fracture is not healed. Be aware of this and take all precautions to keep your pet under control.
  • Return to our clinic every week for the next six weeks to have the bolts tightened. The external skeletal fixation device is secured together by a series of nuts and bolts. These nuts and bolts can loosen over time with activity. Therefore, it is essential that you return every week for the next six weeks for us to tighten the nuts and bolts and make sure that the device is secure.
  • Clean the device daily. Your job is to clean the device daily. The simplest way to do this is to apply a small amount of warm water and Ivory soap or alcohol to the external parts of the device all the way to where the device touches the skin. Alcohol may cause a mild degree of pain; however, it will be the best at preventing superficial skin infection.

One of the more common times that an external skeletal fixation device is used is with an open fracture. Open fractures present an increased rate of infection.

external fixator 01

An external skeletal fixator allows fixation; however, you do not have to cross the exact fracture site as you do when using a bone plate or other forms of fixation.

Again, return to our hospital in one week so that we can secure and examine the skeletal fixation device. This appointment will take about 10 minutes and there will be no charge for this service.  Clean the device as noted above. This cleaning is mandatory to prevent and curtail any developing infection.

Also, give the medicines as directed to control infection and prevent pain.

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