Article Text

Companion Animal Practice
Biology and radiological assessment of fracture healing
  1. Sorrel Langley‐Hobbs

    Sorrel Langley‐Hobbs graduated in 1990 from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London, where she stayed on for a year as an intern. She spent three years in practice before returning to the RVC to complete a residency in small animal orthopaedics, and subsequently spent six months as a lecturer in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. She is currently the university surgeon in small animal orthopaedics at Cambridge. She holds an RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) and an ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery.


RADIOGRAPHIC imaging of the skeletal system is an integral part of the science of small animal orthopaedics. Radiographs should not be viewed in isolation, but assessed in the context of the whole patient by considering its signalment, the history behind its presentation and the results of a complete physical and thorough orthopaedic examination. A careful systematic approach helps to avoid errors (eg, missing a pathological fracture, or radiographing an obvious open distal limb fracture and missing a closed proximal fracture elsewhere in the limb) and allows the early detection of complications, enabling rapid intervention to prevent an undesirable outcome. This article describes the biological factors which influence fracture healing and discusses how radiographs may be used and evaluated to monitor the healing process in small animals.

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