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Bryant’s Traction – An effective treatment

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bryants traction

Among the various methods of orthopedic traction, Bryant’s traction is applied on young children who suffer from femur fractures and congenital abnormalities of their hips. The legs of the affected child are vertically suspended in the air at a right angle from his hip. The knees of the child are slightly flexed while doing this. This is a very sensitive treatment as it is conducted on young children. Any mishap during the treatment might lead to the child being handicapped for the rest of his life. The doctors and medical staff at Jehangir Hospital, Pune are very well experienced and equipped to perform this treatment. Till now, they have performed many such cases successfully.

The treatment:

  • The patient is laid down on the bed.
  • His legs are vertically suspended in the air at a right angle to his hip.
  • The knees are flexed slightly.
  • After a few days of keeping the patient in this position, the hip is gradually moved in the outward direction to the body like a pulley system. The body of the patient acts as a counter-traction.


There are a few complications that might take place in the patients. The doctors need to take the necessary reactionary steps as and when they occur. The complications are:

  • The circulation of blood in the legs is hampered as they are hung up in the air. The degree of complication might vary from case to case.
  • In some cases the circulatory impairment may lead to ischemic fibrosis of the muscles below the knees. This might cause Equino-Varus deformity in the patient’s leg.
  • In other patients necrosis might take place like a band in muscles and skin in the calf region of the patient’s leg.
  • Lastly, in worst cases, gangrene might take place in the legs. Amputation of a part of the leg might be required.

The complications mentioned above are usually prevalent in older children. This is because older the children, higher is the fall in blood pressure at the ankles of the child when the doctors lift their leg in the air, in a vertical position. The tight bandaging further reduces the flow of blood in the leg. The traction and the shock due to the treatment might impede the circulation of blood even more.

Reminders to be kept in mind during the treatment:

  • Hyper-extension at the knees is found to be very harmful to the patient. It obstructs the flow of blood in the arteries above the knees at a supra-condylar level.
  • Studies have shown that Bryant’s traction is dangerous for children above 4 years old.
  • In children aged between 2 and 4, the treatment must be done with utmost care.
  • Under no circumstances must a full knee extension be done in children of any age.

So, we see that the Bryant’s traction has quite a few probable complications that might take place if it is not done with care and precaution. The treatment though has its own share of benefits and needs to be done in certain cases. The doctors at Jehangir Hospital, Pune weigh the pros and cons of the treatment, after the diagnosis and go ahead with it only if it is necessary. Moreover, at Jehangir Hospital, Bryant’s traction is performed under utmost care.

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