Objective - To report clinical evaluation of headless compression screws for repair of metacarpal/ metatarsal (MC/MT3) condylar fractures in horses. Study Design - Retrospective case study. Sample Population - Racing Thoroughbreds (n = 16) with nondisplaced lateral condylar fractures of MC/MT 3. Methods - Medical records (1999-2004) of horses with nondisplaced longitudinal fractures of the lateral condyle of MC/MT3 were reviewed. Pre-operative variables retrieved were: patient age, gender, limb involvement, injury occurrence, fracture length, and width, evidence of palmar comminution and degenerative joint disease, number of pre-injury starts, and pre-injury earnings. Postoperative variables retrieved were: surgical complications, surgical time, number of race starts, and post-operative earnings. Results - MC3 (n = 11) and MT3 (5) nondisplaced longitudinal fractures of the lateral condyle were repaired with Acutrak Equine (AE) screws. Left front limb fractures were most common (8) followed by left hind (5) and right front (3). Nine fractures occurred during training and 7 during racing; 4 fractures had palmar comminution. No surgical complications occurred. Of 15 horses that returned to training, 11 (73%) raced 306 ± 67 days after injury and had greater mean (± SD) post-injury earnings/start ($5290.00 ± $8124.00) than pre-injury ($4971.00 ± $2842.00). Screw removal was not required in any horse. Conclusion - The AE screw is a viable option for repair of nondisplaced lateral condylar MC/MT3 fractures in Thoroughbred racehorses. Clinical Relevance - Adequate stability of nondisplaced lateral condylar fractures can be achieved with a headless tapered compression screw while avoiding impingement on the collateral ligaments and joint capsule of the fetlock joint.
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