Preserving Your Ability to Walk with Circular Ring External Fixation

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Preserving Your Ability to Walk with Circular Ring External Fixation

Issues in your foot have tuned the corner into limb-threatening territory and you want to avoid amputation if at all possible. Well, you’re certainly in the right place — Dr. Thomas Rambacher and the team here at Foot Ankle Leg Wound Care Orange County devote their practice to foot and limb salvage

In fact, we excel in finding solutions for even the most challenging of lower limb cases and we have a fair number of tools that we use to help our patients not only preserve their limb, but in a way that helps them preserve their quality of life, too.

In this month’s blog post we’re going to discuss some of the advantages of one such limb salvage technique that we use — circular ring external fixation.

Limb salvage and beyond

If you’re reading this, the odds are that you’re facing reconstruction surgery in your foot, ankle, and/or lower limb because of severe circulatory and neuropathy in your lower limbs. 

For example, one of the more devastating side effects of diabetes is Charcot foot, which affects less than 1% of people with diabetes. With Charcot foot, there’s severe damage in your foot and ankle because you’ve lost all feeling, which has allowed the damage to go unchecked. 

Whether you have Charcot foot or another issue that’s threatening your lower limb, we may turn to a circular ring external fixator, a technique in which we stabilize your bones and joints from the outside using metal rings, wires, and pins. This approach not only helps you avoid amputation, but it can provide you with a stable limb in the future.

Advantages of circular external ring fixation

There are a number of incredibly important benefits that come with circular external ring fixator, including:

External fixation is minimally invasive

One of the biggest advantages of circular external ring fixation is that we don’t need to surgically expose your bones, which is what occurs with internal fixation. Instead, we use minimally invasive techniques to align and stabilize the area from the outside. And, as we’re sure you can appreciate, the least amount of disturbance in your beleaguered lower limb, the better.

Reduces pressure on your foot so it can heal

Another important goal of external fixation is to offload the pressure on certain areas of your foot to give it time and room to heal properly. We can adjust the device to take pressure off of sensitive areas, such as where we’ve reconstructed bone or where there are ulcers. Not to mention, we can also immobilize certain small joints through external fixation to encourage faster healing.

You maintain mobility

One of the aspects our patients appreciate the most when it comes to circular external ring fixation is that they can walk soon after the reconstruction efforts. You might wear the external fixator for several months, but you can maintain your ability to move around during this time.

Easier wound care

When we use a circular ring external fixator to stabilize your lower limb, we still have access to your foot (as opposed to an enclosed cast), which makes wound care easier and more effective.

Good for poor bone quality

If the bones in your feet and ankles are weak and damaged, external fixation works better than internal fixation, which relies on placing pins and screws inside bones.

Better compression

Another advantage of circular external fixation is that this technique proves better compression over internal fixation, which can help the bones come together and heal faster.

To learn more

As you can see, circular ring external fixation is a valuable weapon in our treatment arsenal for lower limb damage.

If you’d like to learn more about circular ring external fixation and whether you’re a candidate, please call our office in Mission Viejo, California, at 949-832-6018 or request an appointment online today.