Case: Temporary joint immobilisation of the carpus with a hybrid plate after traumatic luxation

Megan, a small dog presented with a luxated (dislocated) carpus (wrist) joint after jumping while out for a walk. This injury would often be treated with a pancarpal arthrodesis (see separate article). Fusing the carpus usually carries a very good prognosis for acceptable long term function, but in this small dog, the owner was keen to try to save normal joint function.

 

So we placed the same plate that we would have otherwise used to fuse the joint, but we did this without the surgical destruction of the joint surfaces which would otherwise have been done during an arthrodesis to allow the bones above and below the joint to fuse together. The plate rigidly held the joint in the correct position while the joint capsule and other periarticular structures repaired and thickened to provide long term support. After a few weeks, the plate was removed during a second minor surgery.

 

Megan did very well and the carpus returned to essentially normal function. There may be some future degenerative joint disease resulting from the trauma and from the period of rigid immobilisation. But this may very well not be significant in this samll and “can-do” dog.