The objective of this study was to report post-operative complications and outcomes in canines undergoing elbow arthrodesis (EA) with fixation techniques including bone plate fixation with a non-locking dynamic compression plate (DCP), bone plate fixation with a locking plate (LCP), and external skeletal fixator (ESF). Medical records of twenty-two cases that underwent EA between January 2009-December 2019 from 8 referral hospitals including both private practice and academic institutions were reviewed. Post-operative complications were classified as either minor or major, surgical evaluations were performed 8 weeks post operatively, and a follow-up questionnaire was sent to owners. Of the total 22 cases that met inclusion criteria, a total of 19/22 cases had complications, 12 major and 7 minor. Complications reported in 8/9, 7/9, and 4/4, for the DCP, LCP, and ESF fixation groups, respectively. Mild to moderate mechanical lameness was identified at surgical evaluation in 16/22 cases. Complete radiographic bone healing was achieved after 9 weeks in 19/22 cases. Long term owner follow up was available in 14/22 cases. Owners reported a good to normal quality of life in 13/14 cases and poor in one case. The majority of owners (11/14) reported good to excellent satisfaction with the outcome irrespective of persistent lameness. This study demonstrates that successful EA can be achieved using a variety of fixation methods, but persistent lameness is expected and complication rate is high.
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© 2021 Dinwiddie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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