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Mini External Fixation in the Hand

Ugwonali, Obinwanne Fidelis C. MD1,2; Jupiter, Jesse B. MD2,3

Techniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery: September 2006 - Volume 10 - Issue 3 - p 187-196
doi: 10.1097/01.bth.0000231970.58794.64

External fixation is an effective means of addressing several pathologies of the hand. The advantages of its use include the ability to achieve stable fixation, minimize soft tissue trauma at the site of injury, and allow wound care and mobilization of adjacent joints. External fixators can be constructed from material readily available in the operating room or obtained from a commercial source. Sufficient rigidity can be achieved by any of these means. Improper placement, although achieving rigid fixation, may compromise motion and overall function if basic principles of external fixation are not followed or if the anatomy of the hand is not taken into consideration. The objective of this article is to describe the technique of application of mini external fixation, emphasizing the basic principles of external fixation as they relate to the specific anatomy of the hand. In addition to fracture fixation, various other uses are described including distraction lengthening, arthrodesis, treatment of nonunion, and infection.

1Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA

2Harvard Medical School Boston, MA

3Orthopaedic Hand Service Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jesse B. Jupiter, MD, Yawkey Center, Suite 2100, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.