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Description of and complications associated with reinforced, free-form external skeletal fixation for treatment of appendicular fractures in cats: 46 cases (2010–2019)

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  • 1 From the Department of Surgery, Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, MA 02130
  • | 2 Keys Veterinary Medical Statistical Consulting, Athens, GA 30606

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe a modified technique for reinforced, free-form external skeletal fixation (rFF-ESF) of appendicular fractures in cats and identify factors associated with development of complications.

ANIMALS

46 cats with fractures repaired with rFF-ESF at Angell Animal Medical Center between 2010 and 2019.

PROCEDURES

Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, affected bone, fracture location and orientation, degree of comminution, severity (open vs closed), fixator type, number of fixation pins, use of an intramedullary pin (yes vs no), surgeon experience (staff surgeon vs surgical resident), anesthesia time, surgery time, perioperative antimicrobial administration, concurrent surgical procedures, intraoperative complications, postoperative alignment, whether fixator destabilization was performed, and time to complete fixator removal. Postoperative complications were recorded.

RESULTS

43 of the 46 (93%) cats had a successful outcome, with a median time to complete fixator removal of 8 weeks (range, 3 to 61 weeks). Twelve of the 46 (26%) cats had major (n = 3) or minor (9) complications. In univariable analyses, 4 factors were significantly associated with development of postoperative complications: body weight (OR for each 1-kg increase in weight, 1.8), tibial fracture (vs fracture of any other long bone; OR, 16), use of a type 2 fixator (vs a type 1 fixator; OR, 11), and use of destabilization (vs no destabilization; 7).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that rFF-ESF can be successfully used to stabilize a variety of appendicular fractures in cats. Further studies are required to compare rFF-ESF with other fracture fixation methods.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe a modified technique for reinforced, free-form external skeletal fixation (rFF-ESF) of appendicular fractures in cats and identify factors associated with development of complications.

ANIMALS

46 cats with fractures repaired with rFF-ESF at Angell Animal Medical Center between 2010 and 2019.

PROCEDURES

Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, affected bone, fracture location and orientation, degree of comminution, severity (open vs closed), fixator type, number of fixation pins, use of an intramedullary pin (yes vs no), surgeon experience (staff surgeon vs surgical resident), anesthesia time, surgery time, perioperative antimicrobial administration, concurrent surgical procedures, intraoperative complications, postoperative alignment, whether fixator destabilization was performed, and time to complete fixator removal. Postoperative complications were recorded.

RESULTS

43 of the 46 (93%) cats had a successful outcome, with a median time to complete fixator removal of 8 weeks (range, 3 to 61 weeks). Twelve of the 46 (26%) cats had major (n = 3) or minor (9) complications. In univariable analyses, 4 factors were significantly associated with development of postoperative complications: body weight (OR for each 1-kg increase in weight, 1.8), tibial fracture (vs fracture of any other long bone; OR, 16), use of a type 2 fixator (vs a type 1 fixator; OR, 11), and use of destabilization (vs no destabilization; 7).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that rFF-ESF can be successfully used to stabilize a variety of appendicular fractures in cats. Further studies are required to compare rFF-ESF with other fracture fixation methods.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Yeh (spencer.yeh@vca.com).