Authors of section


Anton Fürst, Wayne McIlwraith, Dean Richardson

Executive Editor

Jörg Auer

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Wound debridement

1. Approach


Wound debridement is usually performed on the heavily sedated standing horse.

Proximal splint bone fracture - debridement

The skin wound is elliptically circumcised. The contaminated skin edges are removed.

Proximal splint bone fracture - debridement

2. Debridement

Any foreign bodies, devitalized and necrotic tissue as well as all the loose bone fragments are removed.
The radiographs show the fracture before (left) and after (right) removal of the fragments.

Proximal splint bone fracture - debridement

Thorough flushing with mild antiseptic solution and cautious curetting of the surrounding tissue is performed.

Proximal splint bone fracture - debridement

3. Closure

The wound can be left open and it will heal by second intention. An alternate option is to close the wound with interrupted sutures after placing a drain.

Proximal splint bone fracture - debridement

4. Aftertreatment

A bandage is applied and changed every 3 days for wound evaluation and wound care for two weeks.
Antibiotics are administered dependent upon the degree of infection.
The sutures are removed after 10 days.

The horse is kept in a stall for 4 weeks followed by hand-walking exercises for another 4 weeks before the horse can go back to its intended work.

Follow-up x-rays are taken 8 weeks after surgery to evaluate fracture healing resp. the remodeling process.

Possible complications
Splint bone fractures can be further complicated by the development of osteitis, osteomyelitis and/or bone sequestra.

wound debridement