Case: Open radius and ulna fracture managed with an external fixator

Beau, a gentle middle aged Staffordshire Bull Terrier bitch, was mauled in the park by another dog in an unprovoked attack that left the accompanying owners with bite wounds. Beau was literally shaken, and the radius and ulna in her left antebrachium (forearm) were broken with serious soft tissue wounds overlying. The fractures were “open”, meaning the bone had been expsosed to the outside world, potentially introducing significant contamination.

Beau was given emergency treatment at the referring practice and referred to us for fracture management. At the time of referral, despite excellent analgesia at the referring practice, she was in serious pain and unable to stand up.

Her ulna was pinned and an external fixator was used to stabilise her fractured radius. This gave rigid fixation yet required next to no dissection and meant that there was minimal metalwork buried in tissues. This reduced further tissue damage and gave the assumed bacterial contaminants the minimum of places to “hide” from her immune system. ¬†The open wound was then dressed, working around the fixator.

The next day she was prepared to weight bear on the fixed leg, and she was eating. She was discharged, a heck of a lot¬†happier now that the fractured bones weren’t wiggling around.

 

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