There are two different types of fixators that we use in the care of kids with upper extremity differences. One is a unilateral frame and is just on one side of the bone. It usually has 4 pins sticking into the bone and a rail outside the skin. It is useful for lengthening bone- done with a painless turning of a dial 3-4 times/ day.
The patient above (Lola) had a fixator for several months and, as you can, she did great with it. As Lola mentions, there is no pain wearing the fixator or “turning” the dial to lengthen. She mentions wearing a splint- we use a splint to provide a little extra protection while we are lengthening the bone. The length of time the fixator is on the arm differs from child to child depending on the bone we are lengthening (we can lengthen the humerus, radius, ulna, metacarpals, and phalanges) and the desired length.
The other type of frame is a “circular frame” and, as it sounds, it goes around the extremity and gives great control and allows very precise correction of bony and soft tissue abnormalities. We use this type of frame in radial deficiency before we perform a centralization procedure. It helps to stretch the soft tissues and makes the centralization procedure more straightforward to perform and, we believe, more effective.
|Circular frame for radial deficiency prior to centralization|