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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

A novel tension relief technique to aid the primary closure of traumatic equine wounds under excessive tension

Comino, Francesco; Pollock, Patrick J.; Fulton, Ian; Hewitt-Dedman, Charlotte; Handel, Ian; Gorvy, Dylan A.


Background To achieve an excellent functional and cosmetic result, primary closure is preferred over leaving wounds to heal by secondary intention. However, traumatic wounds are often under excessive tension during wound closure and incorrect suture technique can compromise microcirculation, leading to skin necrosis and impaired wound healing.Objective To describe an inexpensive and effective tension relief technique that helps the successful primary closure of a variety of equine wounds at high risk of dehiscence.Study design Retrospective case series.MethodsAll wounds that were managed with the Tension Tile System (TTS) at four Equine Hospitals between March 2017 and May 2021 were evaluated. The wounds were classified according to various criteria including anatomical location, time elapsed prior to surgery, depth of wound and post-surgical use of immobilisation. Outcome criteria were based on the success of primary intention healing. The duration of convalescence (weeks) after surgery was also recorded.Results During the study period, the TTS was used in 191/860 (22%) wounds repaired under general anaesthesia or standing sedation. Overall, primary intention healing (Group A) was achieved in 132 of 191 cases (69%, CI 62%-75%), with partial dehiscence (Group B) in a further 30/191 cases (16%, CI 11%-22%). Severe dehiscence (Group C) was recorded in 29/191 cases (15%, CI 11%-21%). The median convalescence time was 4 weeks (Range 3-15, interquartile range 4-6) in Group A.Main limitations Retrospective nature of the study and subjective outcome assessment. The technique was applied to wounds under significant tension; however, this was based on a subjective assessment by the surgeons involved.Conclusions The Tension Tile System is an economical and effective technique for challenging equine wounds under tension, in a variety of anatomical locations.


convalescence; horse; primary closure; wound

Published in

Equine Veterinary Journal
Publisher: WILEY