Arthroscopic surgery allows minimally invasive exploration and surgical manipulation in canine joints. Many disorders affecting the shoulder, stifle, and elbow joints can be evaluated and treated using small incisions into the joints and use of fiberoptic imaging of the magnified joint surfaces. Traditional open approaches to canine joints, arthrotomies, require longer healing time and result in more post-operative discomfort relative to arthroscopic surgical procedures.
There are three major joints that are amenable to arthroscopic surgery in the dog: the stifle in the hindlimb, and the shoulder and elbow joints in the forelimb. the ability to directly view the joint surfaces and structures within the joints greatly enhances the ability to diagnose and treat joint disorders.
Currently, arthroscopic surgical procedures are being used to treat injuries to the meniscus and cruciate ligament in the stifle joint, disorders of the tendon and ligaments that stabilize the shoulder joint, and osteochondrosis-type lesions affecting the joint surfaces (cartilage) of the stifle, shoulder, and elbow.