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Pinning a pet's broken leg.

EVER NOTICE HOW YOU DON'T often see a dog or a cat to a cast?

When a pet breaks a bone, veterinarians usually mend the fracture with a combination of stabilization devices called intramedullary pins and external skeletal fixators.

Now, researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens are looking at how these stabilization devices can be best used to heal animal-bone fractures. They're using finite element analysis software to help set guidelines for using the devices.

Veterinarians often combine pins and fixators to heal broken and fractured bones. A fixator consists of a number of pins that penetrate the bone and exit through the skin to attach to rigid bars outside the body. The device stabilizes the bone as it's healing, and still allows the animal to use its limb.

Current guidelines for fixators are based on small clinical studies that examined the effectiveness of different brands, both with and without an intramedullary pin, in various fracture scenarios, said Aric Applewhite, a veterinarian and a member of the University of Georgia research team, which is led by Dennis Aron, a doctor of veterinary medicine. The team is using FEA software from Algor of Pittsburgh to analyze a greater number of external skeletal fixator variations than they could study using clinical or laboratory testing, Applewhite said.

"The project will help us compare different types of ESF devices, a variable number of ESF pins, and the added stability provided by an IM pin in different fracture scenarios," he said. "Our goal is to determine if IM pins are necessary and which ESF configurations are best at stabilizing a fracture."

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Title Annotation:computing
Author:Thilmany, Jean
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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