Surgeons Use Inflated Balloon to Fix Equine Nasal Bones

Two fillies with facial fractures went on to high-performance careers after undergoing successful surgeries to repair their sinuses. Veterinarians based the technique on one used to repair human skull fractures.
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Surgeons Use Inflated Ballon to Fix Equine Nasal Bones
“Livy” as a long weanling after surgery. As an adult she became a high-level eventer. | Photo: Courtesy Alison Gardner, DVM

Remember fifth-grade paper mâché projects? You inflated a balloon and covered it in strips of glue-soaked paper that dry hard. Then you popped the balloon while keeping the hollow shell and decorated it into a cute little r-ound-bellied rabbit or penguin?

Well, your horse’s skull is kind of like that hollow shell—at least right over the sinus cavities, according to one equine surgical team. And all it takes is a good kick to that skull bone to leave a dent into the hollow space beneath it, just like it would if someone kicked your paper mâché penguin.

To return that dented skull bone back to the right shape and protect the structures beneath, surgeons can follow the paper mâché concept: inflate a balloon

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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