Ex Vivo Biomechanics of Kirschner-Ehmer External Skeletal Fixation Applied to Canine Tibiae

Authors

  • BERNARD M. BOUVY Dr Med Vet, MS,

    1. Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine (Bouvy, Markel), the Bioengineering Laboratory, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Chelikani, Vanderby), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
    Search for more papers by this author
  • MARK D. MARKEL dvm, PhD, Diplomate ACVS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine (Bouvy, Markel), the Bioengineering Laboratory, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Chelikani, Vanderby), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
    Search for more papers by this author
  • SUDHAKAR CHELIKANI MS,

    1. Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine (Bouvy, Markel), the Bioengineering Laboratory, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Chelikani, Vanderby), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ERICK L. EGGER DVM, Diplomate ACVS,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University (Egger, Piermattei), Fort Collins, Colorado.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • DONALD L. PIERMATTEI dvm, Diplomate ACVS,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University (Egger, Piermattei), Fort Collins, Colorado.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • RAY VANDERBY Jr. PhD

    1. Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine (Bouvy, Markel), the Bioengineering Laboratory, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Chelikani, Vanderby), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
    Search for more papers by this author

Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 Linden Drive West, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wl 53706.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the respective contribution of each of the following parameters to the compressive, bending, and torsional rigidity of the Kirschner-Ehmer (KE) external fixation splint as applied to canine tibiae with an osteotomy gap: bilateral versus unilateral splints; increasing the number of fixation pins; altering the diameter of fixation pins and side bars; decreasing side bar distances from the bone; increasing pin separation distances in each pin group; decreasing distances between pin groups; altering pin clamp orientation; and altering side bar conformation. Bilateral splints were 100% (mean) stiffer than unilateral splints, with stiffness enhanced to the greatest extent in mediolateral bending and torsion. Increasing pin numbers stiffened both bilateral (mean, 41%; 8 versus 4) and unilateral splints (mean, 14%; 8 versus 4). Medium KE splints were 85% (mean) stiffer than small KE splints. Decreasing side bar distances to the bone from 1.5 cm to 1.0 cm to 0.5 cm increased stiffness of both bilateral and unilateral splints by a mean of 13% to 35%. Widening pin spacing from 1.67 cm to 2.5 cm increased stiffness in craniocaudal bending only (56% increase, bilateral splints; 73% increase, unilateral splints). Decreasing the distance between pin groups from 5.84 cm to 2.5 cm increased stiffness in torsion between 23% (unilateral splints) and 45% (bilateral splints) and decreased stiffness of unilateral splints by 29% in craniocaudal bending. Altering pin clamp configuration so that the bolts of the clamp were inside the side bar rather than outside the side bar increased stiffness in axial compression only (73% increase, bilateral splints; 54% increase, unilateral splints). Conforming the lateral side bar to the tibiae increased only axial compressive stiffness by 77% but was no different than placing the clamps inside the side bars of an unconformed bilateral splint. These results quantify the relative importance of specific parameters affecting KE splint rigidity as applied to unstable fractures in the dog.

Ancillary