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Complications of fractures repaired with plates and screws.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbus.


The complications associated with bone plates and screws often are related to undersized or oversized implant selection, improper number of implants, inadequate or improper screw fixation, malpositioned plates or screws, poor plate contouring, and failure to use cancellous bone grafts when a gap is present at the fracture site. A thorough understanding of the principles of plate and screw application helps to avoid most problems. The surgeon must use an implant that will stabilize the fracture adequately during the healing process. The patient's activity levels must not exceed the mechanical limits of the implant. Methods to promote bone healing, such as using cancellous bone grafts when a deficit is present, help to protect the implant from fatiguing before the fracture is healed. Proper positioning and contouring of the implants are important to the successful application of plates and screws. It must be realized that even if all of these things are done, some complications still will occur. When that happens, the complication should be dealt within a manner that will allow the objectives of fracture treatment (a healed bone and normal limb function) to be achieved.

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