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An external fixator is a device used to stabilise and/or correct the position of a bone. It is attached to the bone using wires or half pins. These pass through the skin, muscles and bone; on some frames the wires pass all the way through the limb.

The main reasons to use an external fixator are: stabilization of a fracture, correction of a bent bone and bone lengthening. The fixators can be adjusted so that complex corrections can be made to the position of the bone.

There are two main types of external fixator used: Monolateral and Circular. The type of frame used depends upon your individual circumstances.

Read more: External Fixation for Bone Correction and Lengthening

Before you leave hospital you will have been taught how to care for your pin sites. Care of the fixator can be daunting, so the aim of this leaflet is also to give you this information in written form.

Pin site care is important because the wires and / or half pins pass through the skin and muscles and into the bone. This increases the risk of an infection on the skin spreading down into the bone.

Read more: Pin site care

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