Improvements in anaesthesia, surgical technology and expertise have improved success rates for the repair of some long bone fractures. The use of pre-surgical digital radiography and intra-surgical real-time fluoroscopic radiography has improved technical preparation and implant placement significantly. Significant numbers of horses now survive to fulfil a useful life.
The hospital has recently invested in the new locking plate system, which should afford even more stable fixation for some more difficult fractures.
The success of joint surgery has been revolutionised by the development of arthroscopic ('keyhole’ surgery) technology and expertise. This has resulted in performance horses recovering better and returning to training earlier than was possible previously. Furthermore, few equine synovial cavities are now inaccessible to arthroscopic equipment. Joint, tendon sheath and bursal injuries and infections are relatively common equine problems, which can have a potentially fatal outcome. When diagnosed and treated early, using modern arthroscopic lavage and depot antibiotic implantation techniques, results have improved significantly.
Arthroscopy has almost completely replaced traditional approaches to joints, tendon sheaths and bursae. However, attention is now focused on novel methods of articular resurfacing, which remains the next major challenge in joint surgery.