Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopy means scoping or looking into a joint by means of a miniature telescope called an arthroscope. The scope is attached to a tiny camera providing a complete evaluation of the joint from the inside. This exam often reveals more pathology than was visible with x-ray, ultrasound or MRI imaging. With our advanced equipment such as high resolution camera & monitor, high volume fluid pump and extra scopes including a 70 degree arthroscope; we perform arthroscopic surgery in almost every joint of the horse. Areas that we routinely operate on include the knee, fetlock, hock, stifle and even tight joints such as the coffin, pastern and navicular region.

After a final sterile prep and draping, Dr. Kleider numbs the area with local anesthetic and makes a small incision inserting the scope into the joint. A waterproof sterile camera with light source is attached making it possible to view the enlarged image on a TV screen. Using the camera, Dr. Kleider can navigate the joint and find the bone chip or area of irritation he is looking for. Another small incision on the opposite side of the joint gives access for the necessary instrument to remove the bone chip or clean up the area of irritation. Arthroscopic surgery is far less invasive than conventional surgery as the incisions are minimal.

Arthroscopic surgeries for osteochondrosis (OCD) of the stifle,hock and fetlock are now routine! Osteochondrosis (OCD) is a joint problem usually seen in young horses at any stage of development but frequently when they start training. It is a condition that results from improper development of cartilage into bone.

All surgeries are presently being recorded on DVD for the horse owner’s viewing pleasure. We find that reviewing the surgery gives the owner an appreciation of any pathology.

With our motorized arthroscopic shaver system, an advanced technology working inside the fluid medium of the joint, we are able to grind and smooth out any remaining rough surfaces left after the major pieces have been removed with forceps. This system is also used when a synovectomy is required to treat an infected joint or during tendon/ligament surgery. We are proud to be helping more horses requiring surgical solutions to lead full and productive lives.

Another area requiring advanced techniques and equipment are apical sesamoid fractures and fragments lodged at the back of the fetlock (proximal P1 axial ocd fragments). These are difficult to remove because extensive dissection is necessary. Dr. Kleider uses radio surgery with special arthroscopic probes to neatly dissect away all soft tissue attachments. This decreases anaesthetic time and soft tissue trauma.

Before suturing, a radiograph is taken to confirm complete removal of fragmentation. Then the small incisions are sutured, a sterile bandage is applied and the horse is moved to recovery.

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