Key hole surgeryYou may have heard the term arthroscopy in relation to a friend or family member’s orthopedic problems and surgeries. As veterinary medicine follows human medicine, pet patients can also benefit from this advanced diagnostic and therapeutic surgical technique.

What Is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is used by orthopedic surgeons to take a look inside of a pet’s joint. During an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the skin which allows a tiny camera to be placed into the joint. The image is magnified and transmitted to a screen, allowing the surgeon to get a close up look at the tendons, ligaments, bone, and cartilage in just about any joint.

This information allows the surgeon to identify any abnormalities, better determine the extent of any injury, and sometimes even repair the problem.

Uses for Pet Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy has the unique advantage of providing the surgeon a view of the joint in question that goes beyond what radiographs (X-rays), MRI, or CT can offer. It allows surgeons visual access to areas that they may not be able to see even if they were to surgically open the joint entirely.

Arthroscopy also allows a closeup, detailed look at the joint in question, as the images produced are magnified up to 20 times.

Many types of diseases and injuries are diagnosed and treated with the aid of arthroscopy. Some of the more common orthopedic issues that pet arthroscopy is used for include:

  • OCD (Osteochondrosis dissecans) in which a small piece of bone or cartilage is loose within a joint
  • Synovitis, or inflammation of a joint lining
  • Bursitis, the inflammation of the joint capsule
  • Cruciate ligament injuries within the knee
  • Patellar luxation
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip injuries
  • Shoulder injuries

While most any joint can be viewed with an arthroscope, the most common joints we look at include the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow (yes, animals have elbows).

Another advantage to arthroscopy over a traditional joint surgery is the decreased trauma. Because we are only creating a tiny hole in the joint, there is minimal recovery time (days for the hole to heal, a few weeks for the joint to recover) as compared to traditional surgery. There is also less chance that the pet will develop muscle loss or arthritis related to the procedure.

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is happy to be able to offer our clients this specialized, minimally invasive, and effective option for many joint procedures. Arthroscopy allows our expert, board-certified surgeons to do their job efficiently and help get your pet on the mend faster than ever.