Ex vivo comparison of standing and recumbent repair of incomplete parasagittal fractures of the first phalanx in horses

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To assess suspensory ligament extensor branch location and fracture gap reduction with simulation of standing and recumbent cortical bone screw repair of experimental incomplete parasagittal proximal phalanx (P1) fractures.

Study design

Controlled laboratory study.

Sample population

Twenty equine cadaver forelimbs.


Simulated fractures were repaired twice in random order. A proximal cortical bone screw was placed in lag fashion with the limb unloaded (simulated recumbent repair) and loaded to 38% of body weight (range, 375–568 kg; simulated standing repair). Changes in fracture gap width were assessed on computed tomography (CT) images and with intraplanar force-sensitive resistors measuring voltage ratios (V) between loaded recumbent (R-1) and standing repair simulations (R-2). Extensor branch borders were determined relative to implant position and sagittal P1 width on transverse CT images. P ≤ .05 was considered significant.


Standing repair simulation-associated fracture gaps were not wider than in R-1 while controlling for confounding factors (loading weight, implant position, or animal age; P > .7, repeated-measures analysis of variance). Voltage ratio data associated with R-2 were not smaller than with R-1 (mean difference, 0.002 ± 0.052; one-sided Wilcoxon signed-rank test, P = .27). More of P1 width was approachable palmar to extensor branches when limbs were loaded (0.804 ± 0.314 cm) vs unloaded (0.651 ± 0.31 cm; paired Student's t test, P < .001).


Simulated standing repair was not associated with inferior fracture reduction compared with loaded simulations of recumbent repairs. Limb loading affected extensor branch location relevant to implant positioning.

Clinical significance

Unloading during standing repair of incomplete parasagittal proximal P1 fractures may not be required to optimize fracture reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-783
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date12 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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