What is Lateral Retinacular Stabilization?

The lateral retinaculum is a band of tissue, on the outer part of the stifle, surrounding the tendons on the stifle of your dog’s hind leg. This provides support for the tendons holding the stifle in place in relation to the femur. The stifle in your dog is equivalent to a human knee. When damage or degradation to the natural support for your dog's stifle occurs, lateral retinacular stabilization can be performed surgically by your veterinarian to provide repair and insert much-needed stabilization to the stifle joint with implanted supports. Stabilization can be provided by reconstruction of ligaments, or the use of internal or external supports. The use of supports prevents further damage from unsupported joint articulation and allows tissues to heal and resume normal function. Dysfunction in the stifle joint has serious consequences for your dog's mobility and can result in severe osteoarthritis, causing pain and inability to walk. Prompt care of disruption to the stifle joint to provide stabilization and prevent further deterioration is required. Treatment that limits the amount of time the joint is non-functional is associated with better recovery of function. As this joint is critical to normal movement in your dog, problems in this area should be treated as soon as possible to achieve the best possible outcome. 

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Lateral Retinacular Stabilization Procedure in Dogs

Your dog will be required to fast prior to surgery and administration of general anesthetic. Radiographs of your dog's stifle will be taken to provide your veterinarian as much information as possible regarding stifle dysfunction for presurgery planning of stabilization. Your dog will be sedated, administered painkiller, prophylactic antibiotic and anesthesia by intravenous and then intubated and maintained on gaseous anesthetic for the duration of the procedure. The stifle area of the hind leg is clipped and prepared antiseptically for surgery. An incision is made medially over the stifle. Fluid is drained from the region if necessary. Torn ligaments, tendons and lateral retinaculum are debrided and repaired if required. Bones in the joint are aligned and specialized surgical implants to provide stabilization are inserted and attached with plates and surgical screws to bony structures adjacent to the stifle joint. Implants may be internal or external transarticular fixators that may be hinged or rigid. The appropriate implants will be used to provide adequate stabilization to the joint, based on what is required. Separate incisions may be made to allow these stabilization implants to be placed appropriately. Muscle and tissue is sutured to close the incisions.

Efficacy of Lateral Retinacular Stabilization in Dogs

Lateral retinacular stabilization has good success at providing stabilization and allowing healing of tissues in the stifle joint of dogs. After stabilization of the stifle, dogs may demonstrate a reduction in motion. If extreme damage or stifle arthrodesis is present, amputation of the hind limb may be a viable option. The sooner that the affected limb is returned to mobility the better the success rate.

Lateral Retinacular Stabilization Recovery in Dogs

Immediately following surgery, the leg will be bandaged and ice packs will be applied. Icing will be repeated several times daily for the first few days. Your dog may be hospitalized for one to two days, and usually, the bandage will be removed at this time. Following release home, painkiller, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory may be prescribed by your veterinarian and should be administered as directed. You will need to restrict your dog's movement for 10 to 14 days until suture removal by your veterinarian. Cage rest may be required to restrict movement and prevent access to slippery floors, stairs, and jumping on furniture during this time. The wound or wounds should be monitored to ensure rupture, infection and excessive bleeding or swelling does not occur. An e-collar may be utilized to ensure your dog does not interfere with the surgical incision.

Cost of Lateral Retinacular Stabilization in Dogs

The cost depends on repair required of ligaments, tendons and other tissues and the choice of stabilization method, as well as the cost of living in your area. The cost of lateral retinacular stabilization in dogs ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

Dog Lateral Retinacular Stabilization Considerations

Full range of motion is not usually established with stabilization techniques in the stifle. Severe damage may not be effectively addressed by this method. Infection and problems associated with general anaesthetic can occur; careful monitoring during and after procedure will mitigate problems associated with this surgical procedure.

Lateral Retinacular Stabilization Prevention in Dogs

Degeneration or damage of lateral retinaculum in the stifle is a common disorder in dogs. Several measures can be taken to reduce incidence. Keeping your dog a healthy weight will reduce strain on joints and minimize degenerative disease and stress of ligaments and tendons in associated joints. Preventing acute injury or chronic strain injury in your dog will also reduce the likelihood of injury in the stifle requiring stabilization.