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Lower-Extremity Skeletal Traction Following Orthopaedic Trauma

Indications, Techniques, and Evidence

Obey, Mitchel R. MD1; Berkes, Marschall B. MD1; McAndrew, Christopher M. MD1; Miller, Anna N. MD1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.19.00032
Review Articles

  • » Skeletal traction is a fundamental tool for the orthopaedic surgeon caring for patients with traumatic pelvic and lower-extremity injuries.
  • » Immobilization of fractures in the pelvis, acetabulum, and proximal part of the femur can be difficult with traditional splinting techniques. Skeletal traction has proved to be an effective alternative means of immobilization in such cases.
  • » Traction may be utilized for both temporary and definitive treatment of a variety of orthopaedic injuries.
  • » With the appropriate knowledge of regional anatomy, skeletal traction pins can be placed safely and with a low rate of complications.
  • » Several methods for placing skeletal traction have been described, and it is critical for orthopaedic surgeons not only to be proficient in their application but also to understand the appropriate indications for use.

1Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

E-mail address for M.R. Obey:

Investigation performed at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Disclosure: The authors indicated that no external funding was received for any aspect of this work. The Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms are provided with the online version of the article (

Copyright © 2019 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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