Objective - To determine the effect of sliding and wedge osteotomies of the humerus on the joint surface contact areas in anatomically normal elbow joints of dogs. Sample population - Left thoracic limbs from 5 skeletally mature mixed-breed canine cadavers. Procedure - Joint casting was performed by placement of colored polymethylmethacrylate in the elbow joint cavity followed by loading in a materials testing system at physiologic angle and load. Joint casting was performed in unaltered specimens, after 10° medial opening wedge osteotomy, and after lateral sliding osteotomy of the proximal portion of the humerus. Computer-aided analysis of photographs of proximal radial and ulnar articular surfaces after each casting procedure was performed. Results - The lateral sliding humeral osteotomy and 10° medial opening wedge osteotomy significantly altered joint surface contact regions of the canine elbow joint. Osteotomies resulted in a reduction in the size of the radial, ulnar, and combined radioulnar contact areas. Both osteotomies also resulted in craniolateral migration of the radial contact area and craniomedial recession of the ulnar contact area. Although the reduction in ulnar contact area with these treatments is consistent with our hypotheses, the reduction in radial contact area was not anticipated. Conclusions and clinical relevance - Humeral osteotomies alter joint surface contact areas of the canine elbow joint in vitro. Humeral osteotomies may decrease contact areas on the diseased region of the joint in dogs with elbow dysplasia; however, the overall decrease in joint surface contact area suggests that these procedures may induce focal increases in pressure that may cause iatrogenic cartilage damage when applied in vivo.
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