Absolute Versus Relative Fracture Fixation: Impact on Fracture Healing

Brent L. Norris, Gerald Lang, Thomas A.Toney Russell, David L. Rothberg, William M. Ricci, Joseph Borrelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The goals of all orthopaedic surgeons treating fractures are, and will remain, obtaining union of the fracture with a wellaligned and functional limb while minimizing the risk of complications. This requires us to understand how the biomechanical environment of the fracture affects healing and to be able to discern which mechanical environment is preferred over another. Understanding the spectrum of stability imparted by our current surgical devices is paramount to giving our patients the best opportunity to heal and recover from their injury. Gone are the simplistic views of plates and screws being applied for absolute stability and nails and external fixators being applied for relative stability. This review sheds new light on how the use of different implants provides the appropriate stability to encourage fracture healing and limit the risk of complication and loss of function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S12-S16
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Absolute
  • Fracture fixation
  • Healing
  • Osteoporosis
  • Relative
  • Stability


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