Minimally Invasive Procedures

Arthroscopy, Laparoscopy and Thoracoscopy

services-2Traditional surgery involves visualizing and working on internal structures through relatively large incisions. Minimally invasive surgery techniques have evolved to permit visualizing and working on internal structures using magnification and smaller instruments.

Advantages include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less trauma
  • Less patient discomfort
  • Improved examination of structures
  • Faster recoveries
  • Shorter hospitalization times

Arthroscopy (Joints)

The canine shoulder joint’s size and anatomy make it particularly suitable to arthroscopic procedures.

The canine shoulder joint’s size and anatomy make it particularly suitable to arthroscopic procedures.

Arthroscopy involves making a small incision around the joint (shoulder, elbow, knee, hip) and inserting a small endoscope camera (arthroscope) into the joint to examine the internal structures.  Additional small incisions are made as necessary to insert instruments to allow for the surgeon to work on the joint.  This approach allows for many surgical problems of joints to be diagnosed or treated with less patient discomfort and a faster recovery.

Conditions of the shoulder joint that can be diagnosed or managed with arthroscopy include: osteochondrosis desicans (OCD), bicipital tenosynovitis, joint instability as well as diagnosis of arthritis and cancers.

Conditions of the elbow that are commonly evaluated with arthroscopy include: “elbow dysplasia” from fragmented medial coronoid processes (FCP), osteochondrosis desicans (OCD), ununited anconeal process (UAP), incongruency conditions and diagnosis of arthritis and cancers.

Evaluation of the hip joint helps to identify and treat some tears in the labrum (cartilage) and assist in the overall diagnosis and management of hip dysplasia/hip arthritis.

Evaluation of the stifle is commonly performed to treat osteochondrosis desicans (OCD), to confirm a diagnosis of a partial tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament (animal version of the ACL in a human), damage to the meniscus or origin of an extensor tendon (long digital extensor). It can also be used to help diagnose arthritis and biopsy cancers.

Thoracoscopy (Chest Cavity)

Thoracoscopy allows for a surgeon to work on many lung, heart and esophageal structures through smaller incisions instead of “cracking” the chest wall. Thoracoscopy improves patient recovery and leads to less patient discomfort. Procedures can include: acquisition of biopsies, removal of portions of the pericardium (sac around the heart) to manage pericardial effusion and diagnosis/management of some causes of blood (hemothorax), air (pneumothorax) or other fluids (chylothorax) in the chest.

Laparoscopy (Abdominal Cavity)

Laparoscopic or laparoscopic-assisted procedures are successful in treating a wide variety of abdominal problems without a need for a larger abdominal incision. Procedures include: liver biopsies, biopsies of other abdominal organs (kidneys, small intestines), assistance in bladder surgery/bladder stone retrieval, prophylactic gastropexy (surgery performed as a preventative measure in the management of “bloat”), spays and retained testicle castration (cryptorchid).