Executive Editor: Jörg Auer

Authors: Lawrence Bramlage, Alan Ruggles

Phalanges Proximal phalanx, Short incomplete

back to skeleton

Glossary

Nonsurgical management
Main indication Skill Equipment
Racing horses. Basic surgical experience, no specialized skills Basic equipment only


Fractures less than 1 cm in length can be treated by stall rest alone in racing breeds, but should be treated by interfragmentary screw fixation in Warmblood horses. Fractures greater than 1 cm in length are most appropriately treated with internal fixation.

However, healing is more rapid and in a higher quality when internal fixation is used. Providing the horse’s comfort is good, the decision for nonsurgical or surgical treatment is based on owner’s wishes, treatment costs, the healing time acceptable to the owner, and the surgeon’s advice according to his/her personal experiences.

Screw fixation
Main indication Skill Equipment
Warmblood horses and racing horses. Some specialized surgical experience Basic equipment only
Short incomplete sagittal fracture

Fractures greater than 1 cm in length are most appropriately treated with internal fixation.
Internal fixation is recommended to improve the horse’s comfort, reduce the risk of delayed union or chronic lameness, and to accelerate the healing process.

Delayed union after nonsurgical treatment of short incomplete sagittal fracture

Risks of nonsurgical treatment

Dorsoplantar radiographic projection showing delayed union 90 days after initiation of nonsurgical treatment. Note the increased bone sclerosis along the proximal aspect of the proximal phalanx.

*Skill
Basic surgical experience, no specialized skills Basic surgical experience, no specialized skills
Some specialized surgical experience Some specialized surgical experience
Highly experienced and skilled surgeon Highly experienced and skilled surgeon
*Equipment
Basic equipment only Basic equipment only
Simple surgical and imaging resources Simple surgical and imaging resources
Full specialized surgical and imaging resources Full specialized surgical and imaging resources

v1.3 2013-11-20