Unlike skin traction, skeletal traction almost always requires surgery. The surgeon inserts a wire, pin, or screw into a damaged bone. Once the tool is secure, they attach weights to it to pull the bone into the correct position. Doctors may use skeletal traction as a treatment itself, or it may be a temporary measure until they can perform a better treatment. Because bones are stronger than the soft tissues, experts can use more weight with less risk. However, because skeletal traction surgery is invasive, doctors tend to default to other treatment options. The practice's most common modern use is for acetabular fractures in the hip joints, particularly in older individuals.
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