The term “joint stabilization” is very broad and could include things as simple as a carpal splint or as complex as a total hip replacement used to repair a difficult hip luxation. In the context of IMEX® products, we will focus on two categories: external fixator related and non-external fixator related. This section emphasizes joint stabilization products not directly consisting of external fixation products. However, with serious injuries of the joint, surgeons may supplement a primary repair, such as a tarsal shearing injury treated with suture anchors and prosthetic suture ligaments, with an external skeletal fixator. Many surgeons utilize IMEX® SK® ESF clamps and pins in this fashion.
Non-external fixator related joint stabilization products include suture anchors, toggle pins, spiked bone washers and multi-purpose orthopedic washers, and are considered primary repair methods. Suture anchors are suitable for application to a variety of joint disorders. These include shearing injuries, hip and other joint luxations, collateral ligament tears and avulsions, and more. Toggle pins function primarily for maintenance of reduction of hip luxations in dogs and cats, while spiked bone washers and multi-purpose orthopedic washers find a variety of uses – many of which are related to stabilization of joints. Many consider trans-ilial rods and nuts a type of fracture repair when utilized for stabilization of sacral fractures, and as a type of joint stabilization product when used for stabilization of sacro-iliac luxations.
External fixator related joint stabilization products consist mainly of traditional ESF components used to span a joint to afford temporary stability for an injury to heal or to protect a primary joint repair during the early post-operative phase. These frames may utilize bent bars, double ESF clamps, modified SK® clamps, angular hinges, or triangulated frames to span the joint and are covered mainly in the external fixation section of this site. One external fixator related joint stabilization product that is only used for trans-articular application is the Range of Motion (ROM™) Hinge by IMEX®. This hinge provides both a locked and variable normal standing angle while allowing controlled ranges of motion if desired. The ROM hinge should be reserved for challenging clinical cases demanding a unique postoperative care regimen.