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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 90-96

Anesthesia for removal of external fixation with hydroxyapatite-coated half pins

1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA
2 MaineOrtho, Portland, ME, USA
3 Department of Anesthesia, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA
4 Department of Biostatistics, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Austin T Fragomen
Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 E 70th Street, New York, NY 10021
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jllr.jllr_29_17

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Background: External fixation utilizing hydroxyapatite (HA)-coated half pins has produced excellent clinical results revolutionizing the field of limb lengthening and deformity correction surgery. Removal of these pins is a painful patient experience that may be best conducted under anesthesia. Purpose: The current study documents how a deformity practice removes these external fixators (frames) under anesthesia. We asked: (1) How much anesthesia is needed for frame removal? (2) How effective was this protocol in controlling patient pain? (3) How did patients taking narcotic medications at the time of frame removal differ from those not taking narcotics during frame removal surgery? Patients and Methods: We prospectively recorded data during the removal of 53 consecutive external fixators that used HA-coated half pins including the use of pre operative narcotics at the time of frame removal, location and complexity of frames, type and dosages of medications administered, and adequacy of anesthesia. Results: All patients were managed with a combination of midazolam, propofol, fentanyl, and ketamine. Anesthesia was graded as good to excellent in 91% and unsatisfactory to poor in 9% of cases. The preoperatively medicated group was administered significantly less fentanyl (P = 0.020) and had significantly more frames located about the ankle and foot (P = 0.049) than the preoperatively non-medicated cohort. Conclusions: IV sedation administered by an anesthesiologist in the operating room provided adequate pain control to perform fixator removal and pin site debridement in most cases. External fixation used for foot and ankle reconstruction may provide a more painful experience for patients.

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