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Objective— To determine the effect of humeral wedge and humeral slide osteotomies on force distribution between the articular surfaces of the humerus and the radius and ulna in normal canine thoracic limbs.

Study Design— In vitro mechanical testing.

Sample population— Cadaveric canine right thoracic limbs (n=12).

Methods— Transarticular elbow force maps were measured using a tactile array pressure sensor in elbow joints of axially aligned limbs under 200 N axial load before and after humeral wedge and humeral slide osteotomies.

Results— Loading induced 2 distinct areas of high forces that corresponded with the proximal articular surfaces of the radius and ulna. Mean force on the proximal articular surface of the ulna was reduced by 25% and 28% after 4 and 8 mm sliding osteotomies, respectively. Statistically significant differences were not observed for the wedge osteotomies.

Conclusion— Humeral slide osteotomy significantly decreases force on the proximal articular surface of the ulna.

Clinical Relevance— The proximal articular surface of the ulna contributes significantly to load transfer through the canine elbow joint. Abnormalities that significantly increase this force might contribute to canine elbow dysplasia, specifically fragmentation of the medial coronoid process and osteochondritis dissecans of the medial aspect of the humeral condyle. Under the conditions studied, the overall reduction in mean joint surface force across the proximal articular surface of the ulna after humeral slide osteotomy indicates that this technique merits further investigation for potential use in medial compartmental osteoarthritis of the canine elbow joint.