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Soft Tissue Release Incisions for External Fixation Pins 

by IMEX Veterinary

Soft Tissue Release Incisions for External Fixation Pins

Fixation pins placed through liberal release incisions in anatomically-positioned, non-devitalized soft tissues will go a long way in reducing pin tract morbidity. Keep these points in mind when creating release incisions and determining pin placement location.

Points to Consider 

  • Incisions should be made with tissues in a neutral, relaxed position.
  • Muscles should be bluntly dissected whenever possible
  • A release incision at least 1 cm in length made parallel to the long axis of the bone is adequate at most pin placement sites.
  • Some cases require longer release incisions or release in another plane to alleviate soft tissue tension at a pin site.
  • After pin placement, move joints through their normal ranges of motion to evaluate for adequate release

The importance of liberal release incisions cannot be overemphasized. Surgeons often lean toward the-smaller-the-better but with a few simple techniques, post-op complications can be avoided.