Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Ulna: fracture repair

Contributor(s): Graham Munroe, Jeffrey Watkins

Introduction

  • The ulna is an integral part of the extensor mechanism of the elbow but carries less direct weight than the radius or humerus (incomplete).
  • The ulna is, therefore, under tension strain and surgical treatment using tension band wires, plates and screws will stabilise and compress the fractures   →   good healing.

Uses

  • Repair of Types I to V fractures of the olecranon   Ulna: fracture  .
  • Contoured plate provides greater stability than tension band wire in apophyseal fractures.

Advantages

  • Good fracture healing is possible in any size of horse.
  • Technically simpler than repair of most long bone fractures.
  • Only one plate or screws/wire are required, in most instances.
  • Internal fixation decreases convalescence and reduces potential for non-union/delayed union.

Disadvantages

  • Fractures of the apophysis are more prone to fixation failure.
  • Anesthetic recovery can   →   repair breakdown.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Better than long bone fractures.

Type I

  • Guarded: difficulty of establishing stable repair due to limited and weak bone available proximally.
  • Guarded: especially in neonates.

Type II

  • Good: plates and screws.
  • Guarded: wires/screws.

Types III and IV

  • Guarded: comminuted and articular fractures - high incidence of DJD.

Type V

  • Good: especially in smaller animals.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Scott, E A et al (1998) Surgical repair of bilateral comminuted articular ulnar fractures in a seven-month old horse. J Am Vet Med Assoc 212 (9) 1380-1382 PubMed.
  • Hanson, P D et al (1997) Comparison of three methods of ulnar fixation in horses. Vet Surg 26 (3) 165-171 PubMed.
  • Martin, F et al (1995) Use of tension band wires in horses with fractures of the ulna; 22 cases (1980-1992). J Am Vet Med Assoc 207 (8) 1085-1089 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Nixon, A J (1996)Fractures of the Ulna.Equine Fracture Repair.Ed. AJ Nixon, WB Saunders Philadelphia. ISBN 0-7216-6754-6.


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