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Postoperative Complications after Surgical Management of Incomplete Ossification of the Humeral Condyle in Dogs


  • Presented in part at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress, Birmingham UK, April 12–15, 2009.

Corresponding Author
Rachel Hattersley, BVetMed(Hons) CertSAS, Small Animal Teaching Hospital, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Wirral CH64 7TE, UK


Objective: To describe incidence and type of postoperative complications in the surgical management of incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle (IOHC) and identify any risk factors associated with development of these complications.

Study Design: Case series.

Methods: Clinical records of dogs (n=57) that had prophylactic transcondylar screw insertion for treatment of IOHC (79 elbows) at 6 UK referral centers were reviewed. Signalment, presentation, surgical management, postoperative care, and complications were recorded. Postoperative complications were divided into seroma, surgical site infections (SSI) and implant complications.

Results: Spaniel breeds and entire males were overrepresented. The overall complication rate was 59.5%. Seroma (n=25) and SSI (24) were the most commonly encountered complications. Implant failure occurred in 2 dogs. Labrador retrievers were at greater risk of developing a postoperative complication than other breeds (P=.03). Increasing bodyweight was a significant risk factor for development of a SSI (P=.03). Placement of the transcondylar screw in lag fashion rather than as a positional screw reduced the incidence of postoperative SSI (P=.007).

Conclusions: Surgical management of IOHC is associated with a high rate of postoperative complications. Placement of the transcondylar screw in lag fashion may limit postoperative complications and warrants further consideration.