A good many years ago Ransohoff introduced the use of ice tongs to secure proper traction in certain cases of fractures of the femur. This treatment stood the test of time, and has been widely adopted. Later, Besley, and also St. Clair, introduced a modification of the ice tong—the caliper which has been extensively used during the world war. This caliper, as ordinarily used, has quite sharp and slender points, which may penetrate the bone cortex too deeply and enter the spongy bone, giving rise to the possibility of osteomyelitis; or, one point may become loosened, while the other penetrates deeply into the soft bone. And, in event of the constancy of the traction being disturbed, the caliper points may become altogether detached from the bone.
The traction as it is ordinarily made, with the caliper handles in line with the femur, prevents the full extension of the leg at
Cannaday JE. CALIPER EXTENSION IN THE TREATMENT OF FRACTURES OF THE FEMUR. JAMA. 1919;73(17):1281. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.26120430001011
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