The mechanics of external fixation Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Ankle Joint
  • Arthrodesis
  • Ilizarov Technique


  • External fixation has evolved from being used primarily as a last resort fixation method to becoming a main stream technique used to treat a myriad of bone and soft tissue pathologies. Techniques in limb reconstruction continue to advance largely as a result of the use of these external devices. A thorough understanding of the biomechanical principles of external fixation is useful for all orthopedic surgeons as most will have to occasionally mount a fixator throughout their career. In this review, various types of external fixators and their common clinical applications are described with a focus on unilateral and circular frames. The biomechanical principles that govern bony and fixator stability are reviewed as well as the recommended techniques for applying external fixators to maximize stability. Additionally, we have illustrated methods for managing patients while they are in the external frames to facilitate function and shorten treatment duration.

publication date

  • February 2007



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC2504087

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11420-006-9025-0

PubMed ID

  • 18751766

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 13

end page

  • 29


  • 3


  • 1