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TL-HEX is a dynamic, 3D external fixation system that combines hardware and software to correct bone deformities. This hexapod-based system functions as a 3D bone segment-repositioning module. In essence, the system consists of circular and semi-circular external supports secured to the bones by wires and half-pins, and interconnected by six struts.
Summary of benefits
With its various components, TL-HEX is an advanced external-fixation system based on rings which are anchored to the bone by bone screws or wires. The wires are tensioned so that they are stiff and provide support, so the wires and bone screws share the load.
Each half of the fixator frame may consist of one or two rings, and is joined to the other half by six struts, which can be adjusted to provide changes in position. The relative movement of the two halves of the frame is complex, and it is more reliable to use a computer programme to set out the amount of adjustment that is required by each strut on a daily basis. This should lead to a very accurate correction of the deformity that has been identified.
Used for a wide range of bone-deformity corrections, TL-HEX is fully customizable to meet the needs of each patient.
Hardware plus software
Successful application and correction of the deformity or injury also relies on the use of associated software, which incorporates imaging to determine the precise measurements and positioning of TL-HEX. This combination of hardware and software allows for simultaneous adjustment of the external supports at multiple angles.
The ring positions can be adjusted either rapidly (acute correction) or incrementally (gradual correction), according to precise figures generated by the software, to reposition the bone, aid growth and provide stabilization in all directions — rather than simply vertically at fixed intervals, as with less-advanced external fixation systems. This lets children and adults with bone conditions and injuries receive customized care that helps optimize clinical, functional and aesthetic outcomes.1
Pathologies and conditions
TL-HEX is used to correct bone deformities caused by a wide variety of pathologies and conditions in both children and adults. Listed below are some of the bone deformities that TL-HEX may be particularly useful for managing.
Foot and ankle conditions:
- Charcot disease and conditions associated with the diabetic foot
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Pes cavus
- Pes planus
- Ankle arthritis
Trauma and post-traumatic deformity:
- Seide K, Faschingbauer M, Wenzl M, et al. A hexapod robot external fixator for computer assisted fracture reduction and deformity correction. Int J Med Robot. 2004;1(1):64–9.
- Ferreira N, Birkholtz F, Marais LC. Tibial non-union treated with the TL-Hex: a case report. SA Orthop J. 2015; 14(1): 44-47
- Ferreira N, Birkholtz F. Radiographic analysis of hexapod external fixators: Fundamental differences between the Taylor Spatial Frame and TrueLok-Hex. J Med Eng Tech. 2015; 39 (3): 173-176
- Ferreira N, Marais LC, Aldous C. Hexapod external fixator closed distraction for the management of stiff hypertrophic tibial non-unions. Bone Joint J. 2015; 97-B(10):1417-1422