Major injuries of the limbs are no longer confined to the battlefield. Over the last 50years, with the increased use of motor vehicles capable of travelling at high speeds, high velocity injuries producing severe bone and soft tissue damage have become commonplace in most accident units. On presentation, it is important to ask oneself if the limb is worth saving and if so, what is the best that one can expect to achieve with the injured limb, and how should one go about saving it. In some cases, it is at once clear that a limb is beyond salvation. Decision to save a limb and the steps required to do so will often be taken by one person whereas later it may be necessary to call upon the services of several specialists to make the best of what has been saved. Although what is saved may be far short of normal in function, the patient may find that it serves his purpose adequately and may decline any further operations.
The 21st century orthopedics is high-tech driven. With modern advances in emergency transportation, micro-vascular reconstructive surgery, new techniques in orthopedic surgery, limb salvage is now possible in cases that would have resulted to amputation in the recent past. There is need to treat open fractures and gunshot wounds as surgical emergencies to gain control over the wounds, preserve and restore tissue viability, render the wound surgically clean, protect and prepare the remaining vital structures for early healing.
At Hopeville Specialist Hospital, we, at the initial stage of wound debridement, rigidly fix bone fragments in contrast to the general practice of healing wounds first before treating fractures.
Ilizarov distraction-compression technique gives accurate fracture fixation without open surgery. Advantages:
- No damage to soft tissues and bone
- No metal implant inserted at fracture site
- No need for second operation for implant removal
- No blood loss
- It can be applied under local anesthesia and used for every limb segment and for all age groups.
- It allows ambulation with full weight bearing in the immediate post-operative period.
- No associated wounds, bone infection or bone loss common with open reduction.
- Guarantees bone union in the least possible time.