Benefit from New Approaches in Small Animal Surgery
by Jennifer Stone
With the addition of new surgical equipment and
a patented surgical procedure, the quality and scope of the small animal
surgery services at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital will expand, according
to Dr. Dianne Dunning. The changes will also make learning easier for
One change is offering
a procedure called tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO). This procedure,
developed for the treatment and prevention of cranial cruciate rupture,
differs dramatically from traditional treatments. Traditionally the
ruptured cranial cruciate ligament was replaced with an
New equipment makes
it possible for surgeries to be viewed by many people as well
as recorded for future instruction.
This new surgery
is based on the theory that cranial cruciate ruptures arise because
one bone in the major joint of the forelimb rests on the inclined surface
of another bone and therefore tends to slip forward and tear the ligament.
The surgery involves leveling this incline and changing the mechanics
of the joint so that the animal bears weight on a flat surface, not
a slippery slope. The procedure is designed to not only correct the
torn ligament but also prevent reoccurrence of the problem.
is patented, which means a short course must be taken in order to be
approved to perform it, says Dr. Ann Johnson, chief of the small
animal surgery section, who completed the training. Dr. Dunning, who
joined the small animal surgery section last year, is also learning
The small animal
surgery section will soon be acquiring equipment to perform arthroscopy.
Soon we will
be able to look inside knees, elbows and tarsi without having to open
the joint completely, says Dr. Dunning. Minimally invasive surgery
will cause less pain to the patient, reduce chances of infection, and
speed recovery time considerably.
Dr. Dominique Griffon,
another surgeon who came to Illinois last year, has been instrumental
in acquiring the new equipment.
configuration of equipment is a tower that has several different instruments
and functions, she explains.
The most basic
component of the tower is a scope that has a camera and a powerful light
source. This scope is inserted into a small hole in the skin. This
instrument is what allows us to see inside the cavity that we are working
on, says Dr. Griffon.
In addition, a
shaver allows the removal of defective cartilage and other tissue, and
a radio ablator allows the coagulation and shrinkage of tissue for ease
of removal. The ablator can also be used to tighten loose joints. A
pump sends fluid under pressure into the joint to make room to see and
move around. For abdominal surgeries a CO2
gas pump, called an insuflator, is used to inflate the abdomen. The
new equipment brings advances in teaching, too.
In the past
the only people who were able to view a surgery were those few people
who could crowd around the surgery table. Even then the view was not
always good, says Dr. Johnson. Now because of the scoping
equipment that we have, an entire procedure can be seen very easily
as it is projected on a monitor. In addition, we are installing cameras
into the lights so that whatever the surgery lamp is pointing at can
be projected onto a monitor.
This means that
an entire surgery can be viewed by many students and can even be recorded
for use in future instruction.