Objective: To (1) evaluate and compare computer-assisted surgery (CAS) with conventional screw insertion (conventional osteosynthesis (COS)) for treatment of equine abaxial distal phalanx fractures; (2) compare planned screw position with actual postoperative position; and (3) determine preferred screw insertion technique.
Study design: Experimental study.
Sample population: Cadaveric equine limbs (n=32).
Methods: In 8 specimens each, a 4.5 mm cortex bone screw was inserted in lag fashion in dorsopalmar (plantar) direction using CAS or COS. In two other groups of 8, the screws were inserted in opposite direction. Precision of CAS was determined by comparison of planned and actual screw position. Preferred screw direction was also assessed for CAS and COS.
Results: In 4 of 6 direct comparisons, screw positioning was significantly better with CAS. Results of precision analysis for screw position were similar to studies published in human medicine. None of evaluated criteria identified a preferred direction for screw insertion.
Conclusion: For abaxial fractures of the distal phalanx, superior precision in screw position is achieved with CAS technique compared with COS technique.
Clinical Relevance: Abaxial fractures of the distal phalanx lend themselves to computer-assisted implantation of one screw in a dorsopalmar (plantar) direction. Because of the complex anatomic relationships, and our results, we discourage use of COS technique for repair of this fracture type.