Surgical Fracture Repair

Depending on the severity and location of the broken bone(s), surgical correction may be required. These repairs involve stabilization of the fracture through placement of one or more of the following:

  • Surgical steel pin(s)
  • Surgical steel wire(s)
  • Surgical steel plate(s)
  • An external fixator

Radiographs (x-rays) before and after surgery are required to determine the severity of the initial break, to assess correct placement of these devices, and to ensure proper bone alignment. Your animal may be sent home with a splint, bandage, or cast post-operatively depending on the severity of the break and how easily the fracture was able to be repaired.

Additional radiographs are required four to six weeks post-operatively to check if the fracture site is healing properly and whether or not your animal still requires a splint or cast if one has been placed after the initial surgical repair. In rare cases, it may be necessary for some of these surgical implants to be removed after healing is complete.

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Non-Surgical Fracture Repair (Casting Or Splinting)

General anesthetic or heavy sedation is required in most cases when a fracture has not been surgically repaired. This ensures that the patient is comfortable and completely still while the veterinarian aligns the fractured bone(s) correctly and applies the cast or splint on the fractured limb.

Radiographs are required before and after the cast or splint is applied to assess the severity of the break and to determine if the bones and cast or splint are in the correct position to aid in healing. During the next four to six weeks of recovery, splint and cast changes will be required to ensure there are no underlying problems on the skin below. Periodic changes also help correct for any shifting or slipping of the cast or splint during recovery as well.

For more information regarding the home care instructions after your pet’s fracture repair, please click on the link below.

General Orthopedic FAQ’s & Information