A lateral approach allows accurate and stable total elbow replacement in dogs

Lindsey R Woody , Laurent P Guiot, Tanya C Garcia, Caleb C Hudson, Mitch Sadowitz, Denis J Marcellin-Little
Am J Vet Res. 2024 Jun 27:1-10. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.24.04.0100.

Objective: Evaluate whether total elbow replacement (TER) through a lateral approach is accurate and stable.

Animals: 12 skeletally mature large-breed dog cadavers were used.

Methods: Limb alignment, elbow joint motion, and collateral ligament laxity were evaluated preoperatively. The order of surgery (left or right) and the approach (lateral or medial) were randomly selected for TER in each dog. The other approach was used in the contralateral elbow. Intraoperative technical difficulties, duration of surgery, and anatomic complications were recorded. Limb alignment, elbow joint motion, collateral ligament laxity, and prosthetic component alignment were evaluated after surgery. Data were collected from June 11 to 15, 2023.

Results: The duration of surgery using a lateral or medial approach did not differ (P = .499). Anatomic complications were not observed. The lateral approach resulted in 8° more elbow extension (P = .003), 1.58° less lateral collateral ligament constraint (P = .033), 2.80° less medial collateral ligament constraint (P = .002), 4.38° less frontal plane constraint (P = .004), 8° greater humeral component inclination (P = .033), and 5.6° greater radioulnar component varus (P = .001) than the medial approach. Varus of the radius, mechanical axis deviation, limb supination, elbow flexion, mediolateral humeral component and craniocaudal radioulnar component orientation did not differ among joints operated using a lateral or medial approach. In normal cadaveric elbows, a lateral approach for TER appears feasible, producing equivalent limb alignment, joint laxity, and joint motion to normal elbows and to TER placed using a medial approach.

Clinical relevance: In dogs, TER can be performed using a lateral surgical approach.