Since the 1980’s, external skeletal fixation has become an increasingly popular method of veterinary fracture repair. Over that same time period one can follow a steady progression away from simple ESF frames toward more complex ESF frames - often utilizing multiple external rods and full-pins. For those of us who’s early external fixation experience was based on simple frames with smooth pins, the evolution to complex frames with threaded pins was a blessing. No longer would so many of our patients suffer from poor limb use and premature pin loosening. Evolution to complex frames with positive threaded pins was based on clinical experience and mechanical testing, and assisted in revitalizing the use of ESF. With more consistent, repeatable clinical success, practitioners became willing to utilize external fixation on more and more fractures, not just on open, contaminated injuries.
With the evolution of more stable frame constructs utilizing positive-profile threaded pins, application of the KE device became more and more time consuming, hardware intensive, and expensive. However, time and effort put into building complex frames and targeting pins yielded such improved clinical performance that “modern” ESF concepts were widely accepted and applied. Mechanical aspects of these “modern” concepts included: utilize full-pins whenever possible; complex frames decrease morbidity; and stack or augment external rods whenever full-pins are not used. Development of acrylic and pin external fixators, utilization of full-pin aiming devices, availability of rod augmentation systems, and development of ESF clamps that could be added after the fact, were additional developments that somewhat simplified the application of “modern” ESF constructs.
IMEX® Veterinary, Inc. developed the SK® ESF system to address the limitations and frustrations associated with the KE device. Design criteria for the SK® ESF Clamp included the ability to effectively grip a wide range of different pin diameters, capacity to pass positive threaded pins directly through the clamp bolt, ability to add or subtract a pin or clamp after the fact, independence from expensive instrumentation to apply fixation pins and frames, and the capability of the clamp to act as an aiming device. Such design criteria facilitates the construction of “modern” ESF frames regardless of their degree of complexity.