Evaluation of a Novel Dorsal-Cemented Technique for Atlantoaxial Stabilisation in 12 Dogs

Summary

Dorsal atlantoaxial stabilisation (DAAS) has mostly been described to treat atlantoaxial instability using low stiffness constructs in dogs. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and surgical outcome of a rigid cemented DAAS technique using bone corridors that have not previously been reported. The medical records of 12 consecutive dogs treated with DAAS were retrospectively reviewed. The method involved bi-cortical screws placed in at least four of eight available bone corridors, embedded in polymethylmethacrylate. Screw placement was graded according to their position and the degree of the breach from the intended bone corridor. All DAAS procedures were completed successfully. A total of 72 atlantoaxial screws were placed: of those, 51 (70.8%) were optimal, 17 (23.6%) were suboptimal, and 4 (5.6%) were graded as hazardous (including 2 minor breaches of the vertebral canal). Surgical outcome was assessed via a review of client questionnaires, neurological examination, and postoperative CT images. The clinical outcome was considered good to excellent in all but one case that displayed episodic discomfort despite the appropriate atlantoaxial reduction. A single construct failure was identified despite a positive clinical outcome. This study suggests the proposed DAAS is a viable alternative to ventral techniques. Prospective studies are required to accurately compare the complication and success rate of both approaches.

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