Mobile X-ray apparatus being used on a patient, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, Bristol

 Mobile X-ray apparatus being used on a patient, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, Bristol
Photograph taken 15 July 1941 © Source: Historic England Archive ref: med01_01_1869

A view of mobile X-ray apparatus being used on a patient in traction in a fracture ward. Traction involves using a pulling force on part of a fracture to allow the fracture to heal with correct bone alignment. Skeletal traction came into use among British surgeons at the end of World War One. In the 1940s some believed it to be less beneficial than previously thought, with an increase in the “delayed union or non-union” of broken bones. Improvements in technology mean that more fractures are now treated operatively using nails, plates, and screws, but traction is still used to provide pain relief, reduce blood loss, and whilst other treatment is planned.

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