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Comparing the accuracy of freehand, fluoroscopically guided and aiming device-assisted drilling in veterinary orthopaedic surgery
  1. Ian Faux1,
  2. Jon L Hall2,
  3. Tobias Schwarz3,
  4. Dylan Neil Clements1 and
  5. John Ryan1
  1. 1R(D)SVS, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2VetEd Specialists, VetEd Specialists Ltd, Quothquan, South Lanarkshire, UK
  3. 3Clinical Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian Faux, R(D)SVS, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH25 9RG, UK; ianfaux{at}


Background Drilling accuracy is essential in the correct positioning of implants and avoidance of iatrogenic damage to surrounding tissues. The use of augmented drilling methods has been documented as an approach to improving the accuracy of drilling. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of two augmented drilling methods (fluoroscopically guided and aiming device) to freehand (FH) drilling.

Methods Three experienced specialist surgeons and three veterinary surgeons without primary orthopaedic experience drilled into synthetic bone towards a target using the three different methods at three different angles (0°, 10° and 20°). The duration of drilling was recorded, and the accuracy of drilling was measured using photographs before and after drilling.

Results The two augmented methods were more accurate than FH drilling in synthetic bone, with the aiming device producing the greatest accuracy. Increased angulation of drilling decreased the drilling accuracy. Surgeon experience did not impact on drilling accuracy. Surgeon inexperience and augmented drilling methods both increased the time taken to drill.

Conclusion The use of augmented drilling methods improved the accuracy of drilling, and surgeons should consider their use when drilling in anatomical regions where the margin of error is small.

  • surgery
  • orthopaedics
  • clinical
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by the University of Edinburgh Human Ethical Review Committee (HERC 320.19).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Deidentified patient data. Data available from first author (ORCID ID provided).

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