Retrospective evaluation of the efficacy of minimally invasive, fluoroscopic-assisted reduction and stabilisation of unicondylar humeral fractures

Aust Vet J. 2018 Aug;96(8):302-307. doi: 10.1111/avj.12723.

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the proficiency in executing closed, fluoroscopic-assisted reduction of unicondylar humeral fractures. The following were hypothesised: experienced surgeons would be highly successful in performing closed reduction; body weight, time to surgery and surgeon experience would influence the reduction method; and the reduction method would not affect technical aspects of the repair.

METHODS: All unicondylar humeral fractures stabilised between January 2007 and January 2017 were reviewed. Signalment and time to surgery, experience of the attending surgeon, and the initial and definitive reduction methods were recorded. Initial and subsequent postoperative radiographs were used to assess fracture reduction, implant placement and complications. Univariate polychotomous logistic regressions, Fisher's exact test, Kruskal-Wallis rank sums non-parametric test or equivalence tests were used to compare parameters evaluated based on the approach employed (P < 0.05 significant).

RESULTS: A total of 36 dogs with 37 fractures were identified (median weight: 5.4 kg; median time to surgery: 3 days). Of these, 11 of 15 attempted closed reductions were successful. Successful closed reductions had shorter times to surgery than limited open or open reductions (P = 0.009). Age, weight and surgeon experience did not influence the definitive reduction method. Technical aspects of reduction and stabilisation were similar among the reduction methods. Surgery times were shorter for closed reductions (P = 0.034). Of the fractures, 75% healed without complications and 85% had excellent long-term function.

CONCLUSION: The results suggested that closed, fluoroscopic-assisted reduction is a proficient (73% successful) and efficient (shorter surgery times with comparable technical results compared with other limited open and open reduction) means of stabilising acute unicondylar humeral fractures.

KEYWORDS: minimally invasive surgery; orthopaedic surgery; small animal surgery; unicondylar humeral fracture