Headless self-compressing cannulated screw fixation for treatment of radial carpal bone fracture or fissure in dogs

Publication date 1st February 2010
Authors K. Perry, Noel Fitzpatrick, Jacqueline Johnson, Russell Yeadon


To report the application and clinical outcome of the treatment of radial carpal bone fracture in five dogs using a vari- ably-pitched, headless cannulated compres- sion screw (Acutrak®).


Arthroscopy was performed prior to surgical repair in three cases. In two cases, a fissure within the radial carpal bone was more clearly apparent when oblique indirect illumination was employed at arthrotomy. Fol- lowing Acutrak® screw placement via arth- rotomy, external coaptation was applied in all cases for a period of two weeks.


Five dogs were treated, of which four were Boxers, and one was a Labrador Retriev- er crossbreed. All dogs were lame prior to treatment. There was no history of trauma, and all dogs had soft tissue swelling on the dorsal aspect of the radiocarpal joint. In all cases the fissure or fracture line was oblique in orientation, extending disto-medially from the midpoint of the radiocarpal joint proxim- ally to the level of the second carpal bone dis- tally. All fractures treated demonstrated pro- gressive radiographic healing, and all dogs were free of lameness at six weeks post- operatively, but two of the five fractures failed to reach complete radiographic union. All dogs remained lameness-free with mean fol- low-up of 12.5 months.


Discussion: Acutrak® screws are headless devices which achieve compression, even in small bone fragments. Threads engage both the near and far fracture segments, leading to increased screw-bone contact which maxi- mizes pull-out strength and may increase the fatigue strength of the screw.

Clinical relevance

Fixation of two-piece canine radial carpal-bone fractures with the Acutrak® screw proved a reliable alternative to conventional compression screw fixation, and may have benefits over alternatives at- tributable to screw design and application technique.