Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Limb fracture repair: external coaptation

Contributor(s): David Perpinan, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Use to repair simple, closed distal limb fractures.
  • It can also be used as an emergency procedure to stabilize a fracture before performing external or internal fixation.
  • Can also be used to treat luxations.

Print off the Owner factsheetCaring for your rabbit before and after surgery  Caring for your rabbit before and after surgery  to give to your clients.

Uses

  • Fractured limb   Limb fracture  , particularly tibia and radius/ulna; better if the fracture is in the mid-shaft and there is >50% cortical contact after reduction of the fracture.
  • Fractured calcaneous.
  • Luxations of the distal limb. 
  • Useful where there is minimal displacement, when anesthesia and surgery may be risky to the patient, or when the owner cannot pay for surgery.
  • It may be used in highly comminuted fractures, where surgery can be difficult or impractical. However, great functionality of the leg should not be expected.
  • Also useful in animals with pathological fractures, such as giant rabbits, where the use of internal or external fixation could produce further fractures or fissures.

Advantages

  • Cheap.
  • Does not require much expertise or specialized material.
  • Rabbits can manage with more skeletal deformities than dogs and cats.
  • Returning to full functionality is less important in a rabbit, as they usually do not have to climb, jump, run fast, etc.
  • Rabbit bones heal quickly.

Disadvantages

  • Limb may not regain full function.
  • Although many owners will seek to avoid costly surgery, splints and dressings are rarely satisfactory methods of stabilization in rabbits, as they tend to slip off the soft fur and may be chewed off by the patient.
  • Short oblique fractures are poorly immobilized by external coaptation and need surgical repair.

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

  • Although many owners will seek to avoid costly surgery, splints and dressings are rarely satisfactory methods of stabilization in rabbits, as they tend to slip off the soft fur and may be chewed off by the patient.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Pead M J & Carmichael S (1999) Treatment of a severely comminuted fracture in a rabbit using a Kirshner-Ehmer apparatus. JSAP 30 (10), 579-591 Wiley Online Library.
  • Terjesen T (1984) Bone healing after metal plate fixation and external fixation of the osteotomised rabbit tibia. Acta Orthop Scand 55 (1), 69-77 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J (2013) Eds BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging.
  • Brinker W O, Piermattei D L & Flo G L(1999) Eds Handbook of Small Animal Orthopaedics and Fracture Treatment. 2nd edn. W B Saunders.
  • Hillyer V H & Queensberry K E (1997) Eds Ferrets, rabbits and rodents: Clinical Medicine and SurgeryW B Saunders.
  • Slatter D (1993) Ed Textbook of Small Animal Surgery. Vol 2. W B Saunders.
  • Veterinary Surgery. Ed: Bojrab.


ADDED