ISSN 2398-2985      

Limb fracture repair: external fixation

4ferrets

Introduction

  • An alternative technique for limb fracture repair that can be combined with internal fixation Limb fracture repair: internal fixation.
  • External fracture fixation incorporates the use of variety of materials for the frame in smaller patients.
  • Principles of fracture fixation follow the same principles as in dogs and cats.
  • Can also be used for joint luxations, eg elbow.

Uses

  • Preferred method of fixation for open and comminuted fractures.
  • Used for fractures of the humerus, radius, femur and tibia.
  • Can also be used for joint luxations, eg elbow.

Advantages

  • Avoids joint immobilization allowing faster return to function post-operatively.
  • Cheaper than bone plating.
  • Allows for stabilization of fracture against more forces: bending, rotational and shearing.
  • Offers better fracture fragment apposition.
  • A variety of materials can be adapted for use as pins and frame to suit the patient.

Disadvantages

  • Requires close monitoring and frequent cleaning.
  • Risk of pin tract infections.
  • Pin loosening is a possibility.
  • External fixators are prone to contamination and trauma in fractious animals.
  • Prone to patient interference and chewing.
  • If used in aquatic species, dry docking will be needed for longer than with internal fixation methods.
  • Need to be removed.

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

  • Good to guarded depending on complexity of procedure.
  • Open fractures carry a guarded prognosis due to possibility of post-operative osteomyelitis.
  • Patients suffering with metabolic bone disease carry a poor prognosis.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Camassa J A A, Muzzi L A L, Kawamoto F Y K et al (2016) Femoral fracture repair in a ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Acta Scientiae Veterinariae 44 (1), 1-5 VetMedResource.
  • Capello V (2006) External fixation for fracture repair in small exotic mammals. Proc North Am Vet Con 20, 1700-1702 VetMedResource.
  • Pollock C (2002) Postoperative management of the exotic animal patient. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 5 (1), 183-212 PubMed.
  • Ritzman T K (2002) Ferret orthopedics. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 5 (1), 129-155 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Chitty J R & Johnson-Delaney C A (2016) Common Surgical Procedures. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Johnson-Delaney C A. CRC Press, USA. pp 413-414.
  • Mehler S J (2014) Surgery. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Ed: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley, Blackwell, USA. pp 304-305.
  • Zehnder A & Kapatkin A (2012) Orthopedics in Small Mammals. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Saunders, USA. pp 472-482.

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