Veterinary surgeons are constantly adapting to advancements in surgical procedures. In the last several decades, veterinary orthopedic surgeons have made significant advancements, specifically in joint arthroscopy. Arthroscopy has helped surgeons and veterinarians better understand the complex pathology of animal treatment. As common as it has become, advancements have also been made in digital imaging and ultra-high definition systems. Nowadays, professional veterinary orthopedic surgeons are knowledgeable about the latest trends in surgical procedures, and people can easily seek their advice and treatments. They are implementing new surgical techniques with more precision than ever before. This has greatly aided the clinical decision-making process. Here are our picks for the best and most recent advancements in veterinary orthopedic surgery.
In the past, animals used to encounter Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). This condition is equally experienced by both small and large breeds. It involves the failure of endochondral ossification which results in the thickening of articular cartilage. This cartilage was previously removed via arthroscopy, and the necrotic tissue was then filled with fibrocartilage. However, the newer and golden substitute for articular cartilage is called joint resurfacing.
Treatment of Lesions and Resurfacing Surgery
For the treatment of lesions, that affects the middle and central portions of the shoulder for sporting and high-performance dogs, synthetic osteochondral grafts have been the standard practice. The grafts form a web-like titanium foundation that promotes highly resilient inert polyurethane external and bony ingrowth to restore the affected joint’s topography. It also acts as a sealant for subchondral bone. These grafts are commonly placed in the shoulder of the animal.
The resurfacing surgery for the elbow requires a lot of precision since the graft must be added to the joint surface at a 90-degree angle. This procedure was made possible with the transection of the medial collateral ligament or the medial epicondyle’s osteotomy in cases of critical injuries. Advancements in the surgical procedure to preserve these assemblies have raised the bar for osteochondral grafting that is done in the elbow joint.
Advancements have also been made in end-stage osteoarthritis treatment. However, further improvements are expected in end-stage osteoarthritis treatment of the elbow. This is bound to revolutionize the surgical process for the debilitating condition, similar to the total hip replacement (THR) for dogs.
Hip Replacement Surgery
When de-bonding a bone, non-cemented implants are being used because they eliminate the risks involved with implants. Initially, hip replacement surgery was feasible only for mid-sized dogs weighing over 25kg. However, recent developments have made the surgery possible for dogs of all sizes and weights.
Recently, a successful ankle replacement surgery was performed. A few total shoulder replacement surgeries have also proven successful. However, nothing can beat the extraordinary technology of 3D printing and computer-assisted design (CAD) software used to manufacture drill implants, cutting guides and customized guides.
The advancements mentioned above have saved the lives of pets all around the world. Dog owners, who are willing to go the extra mile to save their pets, are extremely grateful and hopeful for the future of veterinary orthopedic surgery.