Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cardiac, Cages and Conferences

An example of an Ilizarov apparatus on the tibia and fibula.

Stardate: 92138.26

So, this week I'm in Cardiac, Mobiles and Theatre. For a Monday, the cardiology department on the x-ray front was pretty slow. I helped out on some portable x-ray examinations in (surgical) recovery and also on the ICU. As the focus (funnily enough) in Cardiac is of course, the heart, you see chest x-rays in abundance here. 

But for the majority of the week, I have been placed on mobiles and theatre, and one thing I finally got to see, was a surgical procedure involving the fixing of an Ilizarov apparatus to a patient's lower leg, due to bone bowing caused by osteogenesis. After seeing so many in A&E clinics, it was interesting to see how they areactually done. 

Ilizarov cages (as I call them), are used to lengthen or reshape limb bones, to treat complex fractures, or non-unions of bone. They are named after the orthopaedic surgeon, Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov.

The top rings are fixed to healthy bone by tensioned wire (Kirschner wires), allowing weight-bearing force to be transferred through the external frame, to bypass the fracture/injured site. The force is then transferred back to the healthy bone through the bottom ring. The structure therefore acts as a 'bridge', where the middle rings hold the bone fragments in place.

For bone lengthening/reshaping, the affected bone is surgically fractured, and the cage is attached. During recovery, the fractured bone will begin to heal. This process is slow, and the rings is adjusted using the network of nuts, increasing the spaces between rings. The adjustment is done four times a day, moving the fracture apart 1mm per day. This allows significant lengthening. 

The procedure I was present for was quite short (2 and a half hours in all), and the only thing that bothered me was probably seeing the wires about to come through, due to the wires pushing the skin outwards. The rest was fine. The sound of drills doesn't bother me, nor does blood or the sound of a mallet breaking a bone... on purpose (with good reason)!

Aside from that, mobiles has been quite quiet, so while surfing the internet, I came across an event that caught my eye: the International Association of Forensic Radiographers Annual Conference that's being held at Teeside University. Luckily for me, this event was open to students (with a student discount!), and after a long look at my funds, I decided I was definitely going. I've been told by friends on other courses who attend conferences that they're good for networking and experience, so how could I say no?! The topics that are going to be included on the day are:

  • Update to the new Coroner & Justice act
  • Post Mortem CT Angiography 
  • The radiographer as researcher
  • Pitfalls in NAI and follow-up imaging
  • Radiological detection and interpretation of internally concealed illicit drugs
  • and Ballistics

So on September 13th, watch this space! It might actually be interesting!

Next week is my guided study week, so unless something incredibly life-changing happens, I'll post again when I'm back on placement in screening. Due to me only having my case study to be getting on with now most of my portfolio is complete, I'm off to London for a few days to see my grandfather, and hopefully sit in on some cases at The Old Bailey. Murder trial anyone?



  1. Ilizarov Apparatus, n.d. photograph, viewed 17 July 2014 <>.

No comments:

Post a comment