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Day In The Life: Orthopaedics

Lola, a 9 year old Old English Sheepdog, presented to us for an orthopaedic procedure called a TPLO. This stands for tibial plateau levelling osteotomy; a procedure to treat cranial or anterior cruciate ligament rupture in the knee joint. Through cutting the bone, rotating and stabilising in a new position with a plate and screws, the angle of the top of the shin bone is altered. In this case it affected Lola’s right knee.

On presentation orthopaedic cases have diagnostic x-rays taken either after the initial consult under sedation, or prior to a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia. These x-rays not only determine the orthopaedic procedure required, they also allow for measurements to be taken in order to select the appropriate sized implants.

Surgical Prep
The patient is then moved through to the prep area in which the patient is prepared either by a theatre nurse or one of our theatre assistants. This involves clipping the surgical site and an initial skin scrub with chlorhexidine. Lola was an appropriate candidate for a nerve block in which one of our anaesthetists carried out a femoral-sciatic block to provide analgesia throughout.

The patient is then transferred through to theatre; positioned and a final skin scrub is carried out. We have surgical interns and residents who often work alongside our surgeons to help prepare the patient, theatre and to assist with the surgery.

Post op x-rays are always carried out after every orthopaedic procedure to ensure correct positioning of the implants.

Following a procedure patients are transferred down to wards and handed over to designated nurses to be monitored during recovery.