Arthroscopy is a treatment commonly used in humans to diagnose and treat joint problems, but equally in veterinary medicine, this treatment is used commoningly to pets of all kinds. NOAH offers specialist arthroscopy services for pets from our Dublin specialist veterinary clinic, offering minimally invasive procedures designed to treat and diagnose a wide range of joint issues in animals. Before arthroscopy became available, the investigation and surgical treatment of joint diseases or injuries was by open surgical technique i.e. arthrotomy. Surprisingly even with arthrotomy the visualisation of all joint compartments was still difficult due to the tight spaces and inaccessible spaces of some joints. Arthroscopy solves this issue.
Because arthroscopy involves inserting a very small rigid camera (scope) with very bright light emitting from the end, whole joints could be inspected more easily than could be achieved by arthrotomy.
The image is enlarged and put up on a monitor to allow for closer examination. The scope is inserted through a stab incision and only takes one stitch to close up afterward, so the surgical trauma is minimal. Some instruments could be inserted through other stab incisions to allow for surgical treatment. For example, the shaver which is a motorised cutting tool that can be only 2 mm wide at its tip.
The most common joints that have arthroscopy in dogs are the shoulder, elbow and stifle (knee) and the hip. Arthroscopy would be considered the gold standard for diagnostic procedures of the shoulder and elbow and is used to diagnose soft tissue injuries such as elbow incongruently, OCD and other soft tissue or cartilage pathology.