For various foot and ankle related injuries, minimally invasive procedures are ideal for treatment. For more severe conditions, orthopaedic surgeons utilise an external fixation device to facilitate the appropriate realignment of the bones. When it comes to conditions such as Charcot foot or fractures of the tibia and/or fibula, brace realignment will be necessary in order to facilitate a relatively flawless healing and restoration of the foot.
The semi-permanent brace that is used in restoring severe foot injuries, is the Ring External Fixateur also known as the Ilizarov Apparatus. Much like orthodontics (braces for one’s teeth), the Ring External Fixateur
is a wire frame that applies appropriate vertical and lateral pressures to the healing system. The frame is designed to keep the fractured bones in the optimal position for fusion and restoration.
Orthopaedic surgery has a wide range of advanced technologies for healing fractured bones. Consult with your foot and ankle surgeon to determine the best treatment plan for your current condition.
Generally used to lengthen or to reshape the bones in the leg, the root causes for which the ring external fixateur is the solution do vary. First pioneered by the orthopaedic surgeon Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov, based in the Soviet Union, the procedure has found widespread application in the field of foot and ankle surgery.
Consultation with your orthopaedic surgeon will usually identify the following conditions as appropriate for treatment with the ring external fixateur:
The main mechanism of attachment of the ring external fixateur is highlighted in the image below:
Mechanism of Action
The apparatus comprises of the external circular fixator, constructed of stainless steel or titanium, held in place by a series of pins to the bone and in turn the rings are aligned vertically and held together via series of rods. Together, they form a column that surrounds and supports the leg while it heals. The central rings and pins immobolise the fracture site.
The frame is also attached to the healthy bone above and below the injury site. This acts as a by-pass (of the fracture site) and allowing movement through the leg and partial weight bearing through the appartus.