Background: Bicipital tendinitis and/or tendinopathy is a common cause of forelimb lameness in dogs, particularly in larger and more active patients. Although conservative treatment aimed at resolving discomfort and preserving the tendon remains the primary therapeutic goal, in certain cases it is necessary to surgically transect the tendon to eliminate pain and lameness. Transection of the tendon can be performed by open arthrotomy, arthroscopically, or percutaneously using a scalpel blade. The following paper examines the utility of a modified percutaneous approach using a hypodermic needle in place of a scalpel blade.
Aim: To develop and describe a surgical technique for performing a percutaneous biceps tenotomy using a hypodermic needle under ultrasound guidance
Method: The technique was piloted using the shoulders of an initial 12 cadaver dogs and once developed, then applied to another 12 cadavers. The final procedure was performed on a total of 22 shoulders. Assessments were recorded on time to complete the procedure, completeness of bicipital tendon transection, and presence of any iatric damage to associated joint structures.
Results: Procedure time averaged fewer than 2 minutes. Complete transection was achieved in 20 out of 22 of the shoulders, with evidence of incomplete transection discernable by ultrasound imaging in the remaining 2 shoulders. One shoulder experienced iatrogenic damage secondary to incorrect hypodermic needle angulation.
Conclusion: Percutaneous biceps tenotomy using a hypodermic needle is an easily and rapidly performed procedure. The lack of a surgical incision makes it the least invasive technique devised so far. Ultrasound imaging allows the practitioner to assess the completeness of the transection, increasing precision.
Key words: biceps, canine, percutaneous, tendinopathy, tenodesis