What is Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch?

Partial resection of the zygomatic arch is a surgical procedure of the jaw used to correct open-mouth jaw-locking in dogs. This type of surgical procedure is performed by a licensed specialty veterinary surgeon and is meant to be used as a permanent correction of the dog’s lock-jaw issue. 

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Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch Procedure in Dogs

Prior to conducting the procedure, tests will be performed to ensure the canine is healthy enough to undergo surgery. A chemistry profile will tell the veterinarian how the internal organs are functioning, which is important when a surgical procedure needs to be performed. If the dog is in good health, the procedure will proceed with a pre-sedative drug to prepare the canine for the procedure. During the procedure, the canine will remain relaxed and comfortable with a gas anesthetic paired with oxygen infusion.

In this procedure, a veterinary surgeon will temporarily induce the locking of the jaw to identify the site of impingement. The portion of the zygomatic arch that impinges the coronoid process will be excised, which will allow the excess tension to be released. Once the surgeon is satisfied with the position of the jaw and the jaw is secured, the canine can be taken to recovery to wake from anesthesia. 

Efficacy of Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch in Dogs

The postoperative cosmesis and function of the affected jaw are excellent following a partial resection of the zygomatic arch. The possibilities of a postoperative complication following the procedure are minimal to rare. 

Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch Recovery in Dogs

After the surgery is performed, postoperative pain is controlled through a combination of long-acting anesthetics, opioids, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Antibiotics are not necessary if the canine is otherwise healthy, but a broad-spectrum antibiotic may be given to those with underlying disease. Water will be offered to the patient after anesthesia and the canine will be allowed a soft food diet 12 to 24 hours after surgery. Canines are often given an esophagostomy tube, which allows food to pass the oral cavity to go directly into the stomach, to ensure proper nutrition. If skin sutures were placed, the dog will be reexamined at two weeks postoperatively and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled at about two to six months after the initial examination. 

Cost of Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch in Dogs

Partial resection of the zygomatic arch surgery can cost anywhere from $200 to $3,000 to have performed in dogs. The cost of the surgery depends on the severity of the dog’s condition and the requirements of aftercare. 

Dog Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch Considerations

Partial resection of the zygomatic arch requires anesthesia for the surgery and a great deal of aftercare attention from the pet owner. The jaw of the dog may continue to lock after the surgery in some cases, which might not be ideal for all canine cases. 

Partial Resection of the Zygomatic Arch Prevention in Dogs

The need for a partial resection of the zygomatic arch cannot always be prevented. Open-mouth jaw locking can occur due to trauma, a genetic predisposition, or from idiopathic causes. Avoiding possible trauma is an effective form of prevention for dogs that were not born with a jaw abnormality, but there is no form of prevention known for those born with this condition.