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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1991 Jan 1;198(1):139-43.

Transfixation pinning and casting of tibial fractures in calves: five cases (1985-1989).

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Department of Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506-5606.


Medical records of 5 calves with tibial fractures that were reduced and stabilized by transfixation pinning and casting were reviewed. Multiple Steinmann pins were placed transversely through proximal and distal fracture fragments, and the pin ends were incorporated in fiberglass cast material after fracture reduction. Cast material serves as an external frame to maintain pin position and fracture reduction. Calves were between 2 weeks and 6 months old and weighed between 40 and 180 kg. Three fractures were spiral in configuration and 2 were comminuted. One tibial fracture was open. After surgery, all calves were ambulatory within 24 hours. To improve tarsal flexion and achieve normal stance in 3 calves, cast revision was required on the caudal aspect of the limb. Good radiographic and clinical evidence of stability was observed in 5 to 10 weeks (mean 8 weeks), at which time the pis and cast were removed. Return to normal function was rapid and judged to be excellent at follow-up evaluation 3 to 12 months later. Advantages of transfixation pinning and casting in management of tibial fractures include flexibility in pin positioning, adequate maintenance of reduction, early return to weight-bearing status, joint mobility, and ease of ambulation. The inability to adjust fixation and alignment after cast application is a disadvantage of this technique compared with other external fixators.

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