Executive Editor: Chris Colton

Authors: Florian Gebhard, Phil Kregor, Chris Oliver

Distal femur Complete articular fracture, multifragmentary articular - Temporary skeletal traction

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Aftercare following skeletal traction application

Skeletal traction is usually a temporary device for stabilization of the polytraumatized patient, if a spanning external fixator is for some reason not possible. In general, it would be left on for several days, up to 2 weeks. After this time, definitive surgical stabilization of the distal femoral fracture would be performed.

The traction pin sites require regular dressing. If pin site infection occurs this will need to be treated with appropriate antibiotics and topical antiseptic application.

Inherent in this temporary stabilization are the problems of immobility, pain control, bed sores and heel ulcers. These issues must be carefully addressed during the period of skeletal traction.

Thrombo-embolic prophylaxis
Consideration should be given to thrombo-embolic prophylaxis, according to local treatment guidelines.

v1.0 2008-12-03