Matthew A. Lazarus, Daniel D. Lewis*, Matthew D. Johnson and Erin G. Porter
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
Background: Fractures of the distal femoral physis are the most common physeal fracture sustained by skeletally immature dogs. Reduction and stabilization of these fractures can sometimes be achieved through closed reduction, primarily in fractures that are nominally displaced. Circular external fixator constructs have been used to assist in indirect, closed reduction of fractures at other anatomic locations in dogs and this report describes application of this method to reduce a displaced Salter-Harris type II fracture of the distal femur in a one-year-old dog.
Case Description: A one-year-old female spayed Akita was referred for treatment of a Salter-Harris type II fracture of the right distal femur. The epiphyseal segment was laterally and slightly caudally displaced. Multiple attempts to manually reduce the fracture during surgery were unsuccessful, so a two-ring circular external fixator construct was applied to facilitate distraction and reduction. The construct was applied by placing a medial-to-lateral Kirschner wire in both the mid-femoral diaphysis and in the distal femoral epiphysis. Distraction of the construct provided sufficient separation of the fracture segments to facilitate near anatomic reduction. The fracture was stabilized with two percutaneously placed Steinmann pins placed in Rush fashion. Radiographic union was confirmed 5 weeks after surgery. The dog was not lame and was bearing more weight on the right pelvic limb, as assessed using force plate analysis, 9 months following surgery. Goniometric measurements of stifle range of motion and thigh muscle circumference were similar between the pelvic limbs.
Conclusion: Application of a two-ring circular construct would appear to be useful to facilitate closed reduction and percutaneous stabilization of distal femoral physeal fractures.
Keywords: Circular fixator, Closed reduction, Dogs, Femur, Salter-Harris fracture.