Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of intraoperative skeletal traction for the surgical repair of pelvic fractures. Opposition and anchorage points for the application of traction were the same in all cadavers.
Materials and methods: Cadavers from 10 adult dogs with a median body weight of 31.9 kg (range: 20-38 kg) were used. The fractures were experimentally created in all dogs to produce an oblique iliac fracture on the left side and a transverse fracture on the right (total of 20 fractures) at the same time. Dogs were positioned on an operating table in lateral recumbency and traction was applied first on the left side and then on the right after changing the position of the animal. Increasing amounts of traction were applied to each fracture and recorded until a distraction length of 2 cm was created between the bone fragments. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test confirmed normality of the data, and a paired t-test was used to compare traction of the two fracture types.
Results: The measurement of traction and distraction of the bone fragments was possible in all fractures. A distraction of at least 2 cm was obtained with a mean peak traction force of 15.4 kg for transverse fractures and 18.6 kg for oblique fractures.
Conclusion: Intraoperative skeletal traction provides a useful and reliable tool for the reduction in experimental oblique and transverse iliac fractures in dogs. There were strong correlations between body weight and the force required to obtain a distraction length of 2 cm in the fracture line; for oblique fractures, traction was related to the square of body weight, and for transverse fractures, the relationship between weight and required traction was near linear.