Orthopaedics is an area of medicine involving the repair of the body's framework. Surgery on this framework requires specialised equipment that is particular to certain procedures. To immobilise areas before and after surgery, a number of different devices can be used. These can be customised to the stage of rehabilitation or to support the area prior to surgery. Often, a dog having an orthopaedic procedure will wear all of these supportive materials at some point in his recovery.
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Orthopaedics refers to surgery involving the musculoskeletal system of the dog, basically surgery on the bones and their attachments. This type of surgery uses a host of equipment both internally and externally on the body to correct and support injuries or abnormalities. This area of medicine includes not just the surgery but all the splinting, casting, and bandaging done to correct bone, tendon and ligament issues. Common orthopaedic surgeries in dogs include hip replacements, ACL repair and spinal surgery.
Most orthopaedic surgeries in the dog involve setting broken bones, ACL repair or hip socket repair. These surgeries require specialised equipment that is usually organised into packs. A fracture repair pack often includes basic equipment, like scalpel handles, scissors and hemostats but also includes rongeurs to hold bone, chisels and mallets and elevators to separate bone from tissue. Pin packs contain the instruments necessary to implant a pin in a bone. Screw packs contain numerous screws of all size and length. Drills and plate packs are often packaged separately, as they are often used with several other type of packs.
Casts are used to immobilise an area of the dog's body that has been severely traumatised. They are often used on a limb following repair of a break to hold the bone together while the body lays down new bone to fix the area. Casts should be applied so they immobilise the joint above and below the broken bone to ensure true immobilisation. Casts can also be used in severe tendon or ligament strain where the soft tissue needs to be completely immobilised.
Splints are often used when a structure in the dog requires significant support but needs to allow some movement. It is an intermediate between casts and a bandage. Splints are used in many soft tissue issues, like sprained tendons or pulled ligaments. They act to immobilise the area allowing it to heal without being stressed. Splints are typically applied within a wrap that should be checked and changed regularly to prevent the skin from being traumatised. They are often worn for several weeks before moving to a bandage that allows more movement.
Bandages can be used to cover incision sites post surgery but are more commonly used to immobilise an area. A bandage can be wrapped using varying layers of padding to provide custom support to an area. Often more padding is used at first and then less as the area regains function and needs more movement. Bandages can also be used to immobilise limbs when casting is not practical, like in shoulder injuries in the dog.
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