Outpatient Arthroscopy for Horses Has Low Complication Rate

Recent study results suggest the overall septic arthritis rate following surgery was 0.47%, which is similar to previously reported rates. Further, researchers found no association between inpatients’ and outpatients’ septic arthritis development rate.
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outpatient arthroscopy for horses
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a vet examines and, if needed, treats joint damage using a small endoscope. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Outpatient surgeries are common in human medicine. Cataract surgery, small joint repairs, and carpal tunnel treatment are just a few of the procedures that generally no longer require an overnight stay. In equine medicine, however, outpatient surgeries aren’t as common. There’s been little safety data available on performing procedures, such as arthroscopy—a minimally invasive procedure in which a vet examines and, if needed, treats joint damage using a small endoscope—on an outpatient basis. But, new study results on outpatient arthroscopy for horses are helping fill that void.

Erica Secor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, currently a surgeon at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic and Hospital, in Oconomowoc, and colleagues recently confirmed that outpatient elective arthroscopy can be performed safely without a higher risk of complications than inpatient procedures.

“The original goal of the study and most important takeaway was that performing elective arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis did not result in an increased risk of complications,” she said

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Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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