Patient selection and education are paramount to a successful outcome. A truly avoidable and unnecessary complication is early removal of a fixator because the patient cannot tolerate it. Patients need to be aware that they are active participants in the healing process. If they cannot comply with instruction or are unwilling to take responsibility for their role in this process, the surgery is not a viable treatment option. Visual aids, dummy frames and a conversation with a veteran frame wearer might ease apprehension and answer pertinent questions or concerns about this treatment modality.
It is not uncommon for some patients to develop a fear and aversion to the presence of the fixator after undergoing the procedure. The device publicly presents as an oddity and is likely to generate numerous inquiries and opinions.
An educated patient is less likely to be swayed and influenced by remarks if one ensures that the patient has a strong understanding of how the device interacts with the body. Surgeons should also educate patients and caregivers about the early clinical and systemic signs of complications as related to infection. They need to understand clearly that wires are literally the pathway to the bone. Applying the motto “Early detection facilitates early treatment” in clinical practice will aid in resisting the spread of infection.
Examine the frame as a general overview of the construct and evolve that into a more detailed evaluation of its components. Question the patient upon follow-up visits if he or she is experiencing any discomfort or drainage. If they are having these problems, find out where they are occurring and proceed to address these areas. This thorough approach to patient education can streamline the visit time needed for frame care.