The Ilizarov method utilizes a circular external fixator to stabilize bony segments. The system is comprised of a series of external rings which are attached to one another via various types of ring connectors. Tensioned wires and half pins are transfixed to bone and are also attached to the external rings, thereby stabilizing the entire bone.
Because of the circumferential nature of the device, the Ilizarov external fixator provides superior mechanical strength and stability, resisting shear and rotational forces. In fact the method not only allows for early weight-bearing in lower extremity applications, but weight bearing actually promotes healing and is therefore encouraged throughout treatment.
The Ilizarov technique offers many advantages over other treatments, including:
- Minimal Soft Tissue Dissection Required
- Bone Regeneration Potential
- Tremendous Versatility
- Ability to Stabilize Small Bone Fragments with Thin Tensioned Wires
In addition to strength and stability, the Ilizarov apparatus is designed to permit rings to change position relative to one another. Because the rings are attached to bone segments via wires and half pins, moving the rings has the effect of moving bone segments. The ability to precisely control the movement of bone segments is unique to the Ilizarov method and allows the Orthopedic Surgeon to compress, distract and lengthen various portions of a bone throughout treatment.
The Ilizarov technique is particularly useful for the treatment of complex problems, including:
- Severe and Complex Acute Fractures
- Fracture Nonunions
- Infected Nonunions
- Segmental Defects (large areas of missing bone)
- Chronic Bone Infections
The Taylor Spatial Frame is an innovative ring fixator that uses six struts to connect rings. This modification to Professor Ilizarov’s apparatus has greatly simplified the correction of complex deformities.
The Ilizarov method can be used in various modes, including: