Use of an elastic transarticular external fixator construct for immobilization of the elbow joint

Vedrine B. Can Vet J. 2017 Apr; 58 (4): 353-359.

Transarticular external skeletal fixation usually involves rigid bars that result in a stable but stiff joint. This study describes the technique and the outcome of an elastic transarticular external fixator (ETEF) applied to the elbow joint.

Four cases of elbow luxation with collateral ligament injuries were managed with closed reduction and application of an ETEF to maintain the reduction. A triceps tendon avulsion was surgically managed before applying an ETEF.

The clinical outcome was considered excellent in 2 cats, good in 2 dogs (1 elbow luxation and the avulsion of the triceps tendon), and poor in 1 dog presented for elbow luxation and a permanent neurological defect.

The procedure was rapid, easy to perform, and inexpensive. All animals except the one with a neurological defect had an early return to weight bearing. This method maintains extension of the joint while permitting its motion thereby promoting rehabilitation.