Traction is the practice of gently and slowly pulling on dislocated or fractured body parts. It is effected using weights, pulleys, and ropes. The traction equipment used, to this end, apply force to the tissue and muscles surrounding the hurt area.
Essentially, traction is performed for purposes of guiding the body into its normal place, and holding it steady. To this end, it is typically used to:
Correct constricted and stiff muscles, skin, tendons, and joints
Realign and stabilize bone fractures, such as broken legs and arms
Reduce the pain cause by fracturing right before surgery
Stretch the neck to prevent painful spasms of the muscles
Treat bone deformities arising from such conditions as scoliosis
Uses of Traction Equipment
Traction equipment is used on the pelvis, backbone, neck, legs, and arms. To this end, the equipment comes in handy when one needs to treat long-duration muscle spasms, dislocations, and fractures. They also prevent and/or correct certain deformities. The equipment includes traction stands (overdoor, bed mattress & floor), head halters, pelvic belts, and other tools and devices.
The traction treatment process can either be long term (when used in the hospital setting) or short term (when used at the scene of an accident). Whatever the case, it serves the following purposes:
Aligns the ends of the fracture through the pulling of limbs into the straight position
Ends muscle spasms
Reduces the pressure on the bone ends through the relaxation of muscles
Essentially, there are two main types of traction equipment: those used for skeletal traction, and those designed for skin traction. Within these general types, several specialized traction forms have been developed for purposes of dealing with issues affecting particular parts of the human body. These include, but are not limited to traction stands (overdoor, bed mattress & floor), head halters, pelvic belts, and other tools and devices.
Irrespective of the type of traction used, anyway, the application will be exacting. As such, it requires great experience and training because incorrect traction might cause serious harm and damage to the body.
This means that the extremity should be positioned in such a way that the angle of pull perfectly brings together the ends of a fracture. In the same way, elaborate methods of pulleys, counterweights, and weights have been developed and are used to provide the right kind of force to prevent muscle spasm and keep the bones aligned. The medical condition, weight and age of the patient will also be taken into account when the doctor is choosing the degree and type of traction to use.
Types of Traction Equipment:
As mentioned above, there are 2 main types of traction equipment: those used for skin traction, and those designed for skeletal traction. Depending on the nature and the location of the problem, the doctor will recommend the specific type of equipment to be employed.
1. Skeletal Traction Equipment
This type of equipment is used to effect traction on fractured bones. The process involves the placing of screws, pins, or wires in the affected bone. After these devices have been inserted, weights will be attached to the device such that the fractured bone can be pulled back into its correct position.
The type of surgery involved may be performed using a local, spinal, or general anesthetic to ensure that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. In the same way, the duration of the operation will depend on whether that is the only surgery to be performed or if you need a more definitive procedure to heal your affected bone.
Anyway, skeletal traction is commonly used in the treatment of fractures of the thighbone or the femur. It is also the method that is most preferred when greater force has to be applied to the areas affected. The force will also be applied directly to the bone, meaning that the practitioner might add more weight with less risk of causing damage to the soft tissues surrounding the affected bone.
2. Skin Traction Equipment
The equipment used for skin traction is far less invasive especially in comparison to skeletal traction. Essentially, skin traction involves the application of adhesive tapes, bandages or splints to the skin – directly below the area that has a fracture. After the material is applied, the doctor will fasten weights to it. By so doing, the affected part will be pulled back into its right position using pulley systems attached to the bed you are lying on.
Anyhow, skin traction is most commonly used when the affected soft tissues (such as tendons and muscles) need to be correctly repaired. To avoid damaging or irritating the soft tissues and the skin, less force will be applied by the skin traction equipment.
However, this is rarely the only treatment that will be required. Rather, it is used as a temporary remedy to stabilize broken bones before more definitive surgical operations are performed on the affected bones.
3. Cervical Traction Equipment
Some equipment is also specifically designed for the treatment of cervical traction. During this procedure, metal braces will be placed around the neck. Thereafter, the brace will be attached to body weight or a harness, which is then used to correct the area affected. To ensure you don’t feel pain, cervical traction will be performed using general anesthetics – meaning that you will be asleep throughout the procedure.
This type of traction is used in 2 different situations. First, it may be used to immobilize your spine after you sustain an injury to the neck. Second, it might be performed to gently stretch the muscles of the neck to prevent and/or relieve the muscles spasms you are feeling.
Preparation for Traction
Before the traction stands (overdoor, bed mattress & floor), head halters, pelvic belts, and other tools and devices are used, an X-ray will be done. It might also be repeated during your treatment to ensure that the affected parts are in alignment and that they are healing as required.
Seeing as how the insertion of anchoring devices and traction equipment is a surgical procedure, your doctor will perform standard preoperative urine and blood testing. You might also need to meet with an anesthesiologist for purposes of discussing any and all health conditions that might have a bearing on the anesthetic administration.
So, there you have it – the different types of uses of traction equipment. Remember, these different types of equipment are complicated to use, and they are designed for specific applications. Therefore, you should only get treated by a professional who knows what they are doing, and have many years of experience using these traction stands (overdoor, bed mattress & floor), head halters, pelvic belts, and other tools and devices.
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