Elbow Arthroscopy


Fivelands vets are now offering elbow arthroscopy for pets as part of their diagnostic and surgical facilities.

Elbow arthroscopy is the examination of the elbow joint by inserting a very small camera called an arthroscope into the joint. Then very small tools can be inserted into the joint to perform corrective surgery. Elbow arthroscopy is challenging to perform and requires expensive equipment and specific skills. It provides high quality magnified images for assessing the delicate structures within the joint. This has several advantages over an arthrotomy (surgical opening of the joint): It is less invasive and recovery times are often shorter than conventional surgery to the elbow joint.

Conditions that we can treat with elbow arthroscopy include fragmented medial coronoid process (FMCP), where arthroscopic surgery allows us to remove the fragment with minimal invasion (see images). Unfortunately, regardless of surgical treatment, approximately 1/3 of patients may remain lame. All patients with elbow disease will develop arthritis regardless of whether managed surgically or medically. Arthritis is a progressive disease that may require future treatment and management.

Although not as invasive as conventional surgery (arthrotomy), there are risks associated with the procedure that need to be considered and whilst these risks are low they have to be accepted as possible:

– General Anaesthetic risks

– Nerve damage

– Blood vessel damage

– Ligament damage leading to instability

– Joint damage

– Infection

– Swelling under the skin

Your pet will need to be kept rested for 3 weeks after the procedure, with passive range of motion exercises being introduced after the first postoperative check. We suggest lead walking to allow toileting only initially, and preventing your pet from climbing up and down stairs is advisable. At 3 weeks controlled lead walking for approximately 10 minutes per walk, twice daily, can be gradually undertaken building up further over 3-4 weeks.

If you would like to discuss elbow arthroscopy or joint problems in your pet to see if arthroscopy is appropriate, please call the Moseley surgery on 0121 449 3716 to arrange an appointment with Dr Chris Lancelott.

arthroscopic view of repair of fragmented medial coronoid
arthroscopic view of repair of fragmented medial coronoid