Surgical repair of skull fractures in four horses using cuttable bone plates

BA Dowling, AJ Dart, G Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Three horses with severely comminuted, open facial bone fractures and one horse with a comminuted, open orbital rim fracture were referred for treatment. Severe facial bone asymmetry and epistaxis were apparent in all cases and subcutaneous emphysema was present in two, however physical and neurological examinations were otherwise normal. Radiography and endoscopy were of some use in assessing the degree of damage, although the true extent of the damage was more apparent at surgery. Surgical reduction of the fractures was recommended to maximise cosmetic and functional outcome. After surgical debridement and reduction of the fractures the bone fragments remained unstable and were not amenable to stabilisation with interfragmentary wires alone, so 2 mm cuttable bone plates were used to maintain fracture alignment. Screw migration occurred in three horses and in one of these horses the plate had to be removed. Other complications were minor and in all horses the fractures healed with good cosmetic and functional outcome. The use of cuttable bone plates should be considered as a reasonable alternative to inter-fragmentary wiring for unstable, comminuted fractures of the facial bones, even where fractures are open.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-327
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2001


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