One century of Kirschner wires and Kirschner wire insertion techniques: a historical review

B.B. Franssen, A. H. Schuurman, A. M. Van der Molen, M. Kon

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A century ago, in 1909, Martin Kirschner (1879-1942) introduced a smooth pin, presently known as the Kirschner wire (K-wire). The K-wire was initially used for skeletal traction and is now currently used for many different goals. The development of the K-wire and its insertion devices were mainly influenced by the change in operative goals and by the introduction of antibiotics. The first versions of the Kirschner wire were hammered through a predrilled hole into the bone, but later on drilling became the standard technique of insertion. Drilling is considered a simple way of implanting, with many advantages, such as percutaneous and atraumatic insertion. However, this technique also has its disadvantages like temperature elevation, resulting in osteonecrosis and heat-related complications. Despite these complications the K-wire is now standard for the treatment of hand fractures, worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalActa orthopaedica Belgica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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