Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Fracture fixation: distal radius and ulna

Synonym(s): Distal radial fractures are often referred to in human medicine as Colles fractures.

Contributor(s): Prof Mark Rochat

Introduction

  • Fractures of the distal radius and ulna are common, especially in small and toy breed dogs.
  • Result from falls and road accidents.
  • Even something as simple as jumping from the owner's arms can result in these fractures.
  • Fracture nonunion is more common in small and toy breeds because the blood supply to the distal antebrachium is relatively less abundant than the blood supply of larger breed dogs.
  • usually, only the radius is surgically stabilized since 90% of weight borne by the thoracic limb is transmitted through the radius.
  • Reduction of the radial fracture often sufficiently aligns the ulnar fracture for functional healing of the ulna to occur.

Uses

Disadvantages

  • The length of the distal segment of the radial fracture is often very short, making secure fixation difficult to achieve while maintaining normal antebrachiocarpal joint motion.
  • Fractures that extend into the joint surface must be anatomically reduced and secured to minimize osteoarthritis.
  • Distal radial fractures are often plated dorsally because of the relatively wider bone surface Distal radius and ulna fracture fixation 01: lateral radiograph.
  • The extensor tendons of the antebrachium are intimately associated with the dorsal aspect of the distal radius and must be carefully preserved when making the surgical approach to the fracture.
  • Additionally, some dogs have prominent ridges that border the extensor tendons on the cranial aspect of the distal radius.
  • If the ridges are especially prominent some surgeons recommend removing them to achieve better apposition between the plate and bone and limit the tension against the tendons as they course over the plate and distal radius.

Requirements

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Preparation

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Procedure

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Aftercare

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Outcomes

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Prognosis

  • Generally excellent for closed fractures that are adequately stabilized.
  • The prognosis for open fractures depends on the extent of infection, soft tissue and vascular insult, and adequacy of the stabilization technique.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Larsen L J, Roush J K & McLaughlin R M (1999) Bone plate fixation of distal radius and ulna fractures in small- and miniature-breed dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 35 (3), 243-250 PubMed.
  • Sardinas J C & Montavon P M (1997) Use of a medial bone plate for repair of radius and ulna fractures in dogs and cats: a report of 22 cases. Vet Surg 26 (2), 108-113 PubMed.
  • Welch J A, Boudrieau R J, DeJardin L M et al (1997) The intraosseous blood supply of the canine radius: implications for healing of distal fractures in small dogs. Vet Surg 26 (1), 57-61 PubMed.
  • Wallace M K, Boudrieau R J, Hyodo K et al (1992) Mechanical evaluation of three methods of plating distal radial osteotomies. Vet Surg 21 (2), 99-106 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Johnson A L & Hulse D A (2002)Radial and ulnar fractures.Small Animal Surgery2nd ed., In, Fossum TW, ed. Mosby St. Louis Missouri, 938-962.
  • Piermattei D L & Flo G L (1997)Handbook of Small Animal Orthopedics and Fracture Repair3rd ed. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 321-343.
  • Boudrieau R J (2003)Fractures of the radius and ulna. In, Slatter D, ed.Textbook of Small Animal Surgery3rd ed., WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1953-1973.


ADDED