- Specialist Services
Willows is at the forefront of joint replacement surgery in dogs in the UK. Our three orthopaedic specialists, Malcolm McKee, Toby Gemmill, Jonathan Pink, Stephen Clarke and Gareth Arthurs perform hip, knee (stifle) and elbow replacements on a weekly basis. They have performed over 500 total hip replacements in dogs over the last 10 years, and they carried out the first knee replacement in a dog in the UK in 2007. Since then, dogs have been referred to Willows from all over Britain and Ireland for this highly specialised procedure.
Our joint replacement surgeons use the most advanced surgical techniques and implants (prostheses) and these are either cemented into position or use other, cementless, means of fixation. In some patients both cemented and cementless components are used. All our joint prostheses are manufactured by BioMedtrix in North America who are considered to be the leading canine joint replacement company in the world. Our surgeons regularly attend joint replacement courses in Europe and North America to keep abreast of recent developments.
Joint replacements are performed in dogs to alleviate chronic pain that cannot be dealt with by more conservative means, and also to manage certain difficult joint fractures and dislocations. The most common indication for hip replacement surgery is chronic arthritis that develops secondary to hip dysplasia. Most dogs which undergo the surgery are of large or giant breeds; however, the more recently available BioMedtrix miniature and micro prostheses now enable our surgeons to replace the hip joint in medium and small dogs, and even cats. Knee replacements are primarily used to manage severe arthritis which has developed as a result of rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. Development of the state-of-the-art instrumentation and prostheses for this procedure has been based on knowledge obtained from knee replacements in humans. The clinical results to-date in dogs that have had knee replacement surgery are very encouraging. The most common reason for an elbow replacement is to manage crippling arthritis that develops secondary to elbow dysplasia.
Only a small minority of dogs with hip, knee and elbow problems require joint replacement surgery. The vast majority of patients can be managed medically or by more straightforward surgical procedures. Potential joint replacement candidates need to be examined thoroughly prior to making a decision to proceed with surgery, and our orthopaedic surgeons spend whatever time is necessary with clients explaining the various management options. Postoperative care and rehabilitation are also discussed in detail. The outlook with joint replacements is generally good but there are potential complications which need to be considered and, again, these will be explained by the surgeon in charge of the case.
To assist owners whose pets may need hip, knee or elbow replacement surgery, we have put together a series of information sheets. Please feel free to view and download this information by following the links provided.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.