What type of screws are used in orthopedics?

Surgical Screws: The Tiny Titans of Orthopedic Repair

Surgical screws are the unsung heroes of orthopedic surgery, playing a crucial role in fixing broken bones and stabilizing joints. These small but mighty implants come in a wide variety of types, each with specific uses and benefits. Let’s delve into the world of surgical screws to understand their types, materials, and functions.

Types of Surgical Screws

  1. Cortical Screws: These are designed for the dense outer layer of bone known as the cortex. They have fine threads and a relatively small diameter, making them ideal for secure fixation in this hard bone tissue.
  2. Cancellous Screws: Used in the softer, spongy inner layer of bone (cancellous bone), these screws have wider threads and larger diameters for optimal grip and stability.
  3. Cannulated Screws: Featuring a hollow core, cannulated screws are guided into place using a wire or pin. This ensures precise placement and is particularly useful in complex fracture patterns.
  4. Locking Screws: These screws have a threaded head that locks into a corresponding threaded plate or rod. This creates a fixed-angle construct that provides additional stability and reduces the risk of loosening.
  5. Lag Screws: Designed to compress bone fragments together, lag screws have a smooth unthreaded portion near the head. This allows the screw to glide through one bone fragment while the threaded portion engages the other, pulling the two pieces together as it is tightened.

Materials Used for Surgical Screws

  1. Stainless Steel: The most common material for surgical screws, stainless steel offers strength, durability, and affordability. However, some patients may have allergies or sensitivities to it.
  2. Titanium: Stronger and lighter than stainless steel, titanium is highly biocompatible, meaning it is less likely to cause adverse reactions. It’s also often preferred for patients with metal allergies.
  3. Bioabsorbable Polymers: These screws are made of materials that the body gradually absorbs over time. This eliminates the need for a second surgery to remove the screw, but their use is limited to specific applications due to their lower strength compared to metal screws.

Factors Influencing Screw Selection

What kind of screws do they use in bones?

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Several factors influence the type of screw used in surgery:

  • Fracture Type and Location: Different fractures require different screws. For example, a simple fracture in the arm might be fixed with a cortical screw, while a complex pelvic fracture might require a combination of cancellous, locking, and lag screws.
  • Bone Quality: The density and strength of the patient’s bone influence screw selection. Weaker bones may require screws with larger diameters or additional fixation methods.
  • Patient Factors: Age, health conditions, and allergies all play a role in determining the most suitable screw material.
  • Surgeon’s Preference and Experience: Surgeons often have preferred techniques and implants based on their training and experience.

Related: Does giving bone marrow hurt or does it involve risks?

The Future of Surgical Screws

Advances in materials science and engineering are continuously improving surgical screws. Researchers are exploring new materials with enhanced biocompatibility and even smart screws that can monitor bone healing and release medication as needed. Understanding how to tell if surgical screws are loose is crucial for ensuring proper post-surgical outcomes. For more information on the causes of loose screws, you can visit: https://libraryinnovation.org/journal/what-causes-surgical-screws-to-come-loose/.

Important Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or orthopedic surgeon to discuss the best treatment options for your specific condition.

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