The scanning techniques I have been blogging about in the last few weeks allow veterinary surgeons to have more detailed information and help pinpoint the exact problem area. This means they can plan surgery more effectively and predict the outcome more accurately.
Some of these advances now mean that a general anaesthetic is not needed, these always carry an element of risk in humans and horses. Horses can be sedated and restrained in stocks so that surgery is carried out standing. The types of surgery that can be done in this way are dental and sinus operations - these are also easier when the horse is standing and there is usually less bleeding.
This standing surgery, which sedation or local anaesthetic rather than general anaesthetic allows, can also sometimes be performed for fracture repair. The advantage of this is the horse is less likely to cause themselves further injury when waking from the anaesthetic. It is also useful for eye removal and kissing spine treatment.
The development of laser surgery which can be used for sarcoid removal and some upper airway surgery, means that, again a general anaesthetic is not always needed. In some situations the results are far better than with traditional surgery.
Keyhole surgery for arthroscopy (joint surgery) and laparoscopy (abdominal surgery) again reduce the need to make large incisions in the skin. This type of surgery uses a fibre- optic video camera which is inserted through a tiny hole, thus allowing the surgeon to have a good look inside. Miniature instruments are then used to carry out the surgery.
However, unfortunately, colic surgery success rates are no longer improving as they once were. This type of surgery is challenging and often it is post operative problems which are not treatable.
There is hope though as medicine continues to advance in both human and animal fields.
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Until next time!