Within September 11-15, Boston hosted one of the most prestigious hand surgery congresses in the world, organized by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

The Italian Society for Hand Surgery was the guest of honor of the 73rd edition. Dr. Alberto Lazzerini and Dr. Luciana Marzella, head and assistant of the U.O. of Hand Surgery of Humanitas, were part of the group of 41 Italian surgeons who participated in the event. Dr. Lazzerini was allowed to organize an entire symposium within the congress which was attended by American and Italian surgeons.

The focus of the symposium was on finger fractures: “an important opportunity to present in the United States our system of external fixation of finger fractures, developed in Humanitas. A system unique in the World, owing to its characteristics of stability and versatility,” explained Dr. Lazzerini, who “has been very successful. Many American colleagues have asked us how to have it, soon a new version of the fixator “made in Humanitas” will be available that will also be made available to the American market.

External fixer: what is it and when is it used?

The external fixator “is a system that is used to stabilize, reduce and heal hand fractures, especially in extreme conditions. This is the case, for example, of fractures involving very small bone fragments, perhaps in association with severe lesions of the soft parts (such as skin, muscles and other tissues),” explained Dr. Lazzerini.  “It occurs in the presence of large traumas from crushing the hand. With such extensive lesions of the skin and soft parts, it is not possible to use plates or screws, but all care must be based on external systems”.

The external fixator – developed in Humanitas by Dr. Lazzerini in collaboration with Dr. Alexandre Kirienko – is composed of a metal frame and wires that, when inserted into the bone, block only the fractured part, while leaving the rest of the hand free.

The surgery

The operation to implant the fixator, in case of fractures is performed in day hospital, with local anesthesia and lasts about thirty minutes. Patients can almost always move their hands on the day of the operation, so it does not become rigid and they are not forced to undertake a rehabilitation process after the operation. The removal of the fixator is completely painless. It is done in an outpatient clinic and without anesthesia.