Evaluation of a small-bore needle arthroscope for diagnosis and treatment of medial coronoid disease in dogs: a pilot study with short-term assessment

P Garnier, B Dekerle, J Vial, E Maurice, M Manassero, V Viateau
N Z Vet J. 2023 Feb 14;1-13. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2023.2181239.

Case history: Dogs (n = 15) that were presented to a single veterinary teaching hospital with elbow dysplasia-associated lameness between September 2021 and May 2022, and were determined to require arthroscopy based on imaging results, were prospectively recruited into the study. The median duration of lameness was 4 (min 1, max 24) months.

Clinical findings: Various breeds were represented with a median body weight of 31.6 (min 15, max 46.4) kg and median age at presentation of 14 (min 8, max 83) months. Results of imaging modalities (CT) were consistent with medial coronoid disease with fissured or fragmented medial coronoid process in all dogs.

Arthroscopic findings: Feasibility of the needle arthroscopy (NA) procedure was firstly assessed in a preliminary cadaveric study in forelimbs (n = 10) collected from 10 adult dogs euthanised for reasons unrelated to the study. Elbow exploration was performed through a medial approach beginning with NA (1.9 mm 0° angle scope) followed by standard arthroscopy (SA; 2.4 mm 30° angle scope). The quality and extent of visualisation (scored through the number of anatomical structures visualised) were recorded and statistically compared. As the cadaver study indicated that NA allowed safe inspection of all structures in medial/caudal compartments, this procedure was then used in the dogs requiring treatment. In the clinical setting, elbow exploration was successful in all dogs and the treatment (removal of osteochondral fragments) was performed without requiring conversion into SA. One month after surgery, all dogs had an improvement in their lameness score (0-5) and 12/15 dogs were no longer lame. There was a reduction in Canine Orthopaedic Index scores measured a median of 99 (min 47, max 180) days after surgery (24 (IQR 19.5-31.5)) compared to the pre-operative period (49 (IQR 46.5-57); p < 0.001).

Clinical relevance: Needle arthroscopy-assisted removal of osteochondral fragments was performed in all dogs with satisfactory short-term clinical outcome. NA is a feasible technique for diagnosis and lesion assessment in dogs with a fissured or fragmented coronoid process. Larger clinical studies with longer follow-up are necessary to validate the NanoScope operative arthroscopy system as an alternative strategy to SA for video-assisted treatment of medial coronoid disease.