Circular fixators typically utilize fine wires placed under tension instead of normal diameter half-pins and full-pins. When loaded, fine wires under tension behave in a non-linear fashion demonstrating low stiffness early but increasing in stiffness as loading becomes greater. This non-linear stiffness is considered the basis of the Ilizarov method and some consider it to enhance the fracture healing process.
When components of traditional linear ESF and circular ESF frames are combined, the resulting frame is considered a hybrid ESF frame. Something as simple as substituting traditional pins for fine wires in a multi-ring circular ESF frame becomes a hybrid frame by definition. This is common with circular ESF frames applied to the tibia to eliminate morbidity often associated with fine wires near the stifle.
By utilizing hybrid rods or hybrid adapters, the SK® linear fixator is easily coupled with circular ESF devices to form hybrid frames that consist of a single ring with fine wires coupled to what appears to be a Type I-a or Type I-b ESF frame. These “simple” hybrid frames are relatively inexpensive and straightforward to construct as compared to more complex circular or hybrid ESF frames. These hybrid frames are practical alternatives to transarticular ESF frames for stabilization of very small fracture fragments. In addition, hybrid frames can be alternatives to complete circular ESF frames for selected growth deformity patients.