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2Principles of joint-spanning external fixation

Joint-spanning external fixation of the wrist may be used as a temporary or definitive treatment in simple or complex distal forearm fractures.

The external fixator may be used on its own or to supplement K-wire fixation. Specifics of K-wire fixation are given in separate treatment options for each appropriate fracture type.

Details of external fixation are described in the basic technique for application of modular external fixator.

Specific considerations for the wrist are given below.

In joint-spanning external fixation of the wrist, the 4 mm (small) external fixator system is commonly used and may be combined with the 8 mm (medium) system. They are applied as described in the basic technique for the 11 mm (large) system.

There are several other external fixation systems available.