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Easy ESF Inventory Management

Submitted by Zack Ricker, DVM | Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists

Tackle box containg an assortment of external fixation pins and wires

Tackle box containing an assortment of external fixation pins and wires
Image courtesy of Zack Ricker, DVM | Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists

Use a large, multi-compartment tackle box to organize and sort inventory of various ESF components. Individual drawers and slots are labeled for easy identification. If circular external skeletal fixation (CESF) or hybrid-CESF components are stocked, additional boxes may be required.

Most linear ESF packs are kept sterile and ready to use. However, postoperatively it is nice to have additional components on hand to refill packs on an as need basis. This avoids holding a pack open while additional components are ordered. This tackle box tip-n-trick allows for ready refill without digging through boxes of assorted components in hopes of finding the necessary pieces, or worse finding that a desired component is not on hand at a time of need.

Hybrid frame users often open a “linear” SK pack and a separate hybrid pack. Some surgeons keep a hybrid pack sterile and refill as needed. Other surgeons pack hybrid components as needed and add extra components that might be required if a change in plan is necessary during surgery. This method keeps hybrid packs smaller and avoids repeated sterilization of many items.

Circular frames are more frequently constructed pre-operatively and then sterilized along with the balance of the components necessary to apply the frame and make any operative changes as needed. In this situation, organized inventory is important to quickly building a frame and packing the necessary support components.

Regardless of when sterilization takes place, identification and control of inventory in a single location speeds and simplifies surgery and inventory management. To tighten inventory control, manage expenses and simplify reorder, consider including part numbers and desired quantities on the tray labels.

Editor’s Note: Keep an IMEX pin wall chart handy to verify accuracy of pin identification. This wall chart also provides part numbers and recommended drill bits. If you do not have a wall chart, contact IMEX ( today for a complimentary copy.