What is Primary Collateral Ligament Repair?

Primary collateral ligament repair is a surgical procedure used to correct carpal collateral injuries in canines. A veterinary specialist surgeon will perform the surgery, referring to the technique used as primary repair and synthetic stabilization. This technique of ligament repair focuses on reinforcing the damaged ligaments through the use of synthetic sutures, drilled holes, and screws to anchor the ligament to the bone in which it occupies. Reinforcing the ligament and placing sutures in the compromised fibrous connective tissue will allow the damage to heal. 

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Primary Collateral Ligament Repair Procedure in Dogs

Prior to conducting the primary collateral ligament repair in a dog, the general health of the animal will be assessed to ensure the pet is well enough to undergo the surgery. Common preoperative tests for a dog undergoing this type of procedure may include a complete blood cell count, biochemical profile and urinalysis. 

The technique veterinary surgeon specialists use for a primary collateral ligament repair surgery is generally synthetic suture stabilization, reinforcing the damaged ligaments. This technique uses sutures to first stabilize the broken ligament, tying broken ends together. Then the surgeon drills holes into the bone and screws will be placed at the origin of the collateral ligaments. The screws will make anchor points, allowing the surgeon to tie the sutured tendon to the bone with surgical wire. The wire will reduce the weight placed on the ligament and facilitate healing. 

Efficacy of Primary Collateral Ligament Repair in Dogs

Primary collateral ligament repair is the most effective form of ligament repair for a canine, keeping the ability of joint movement. The canine may require pancarpal arthrodesis, which means the joint will require fusion to alleviate pain. 

Primary Collateral Ligament Repair Recovery in Dogs

Following a primary collateral ligament repair surgery, the canine will be required to wear cast or splint for four to eight weeks postoperatively. Physical activity for the dog will be limited but not fully restricted during the recovery period. After the four to eight weeks are up, the canine will be required to return to the veterinary specialist to remove the cast or splint for an evaluation of the joint. 

Cost of Primary Collateral Ligament Repair in Dogs

The total cost of a primary collateral ligament repair surgery for a dog can reach from $1,500 to $2,000 to have performed. The total cost depends on the initial diagnosis and aftercare required for the ligament. 

Dog Primary Collateral Ligament Repair Considerations

A primary collateral ligament repair procedure is highly effective in repairing the damaged ligament, but the long term prognosis is unpredictable. A canine can develop significant debilitation as a result of early onset osteoarthritis years after the procedure. However, the initial injury that has caused the canine to require a primary collateral ligament repair surgery can also lead to osteoarthritis despite having the procedure performed. In this case, the veterinarian may recommend joint fusion to salvage the joint and prevent a future form of arthritis.

Primary Collateral Ligament Repair Prevention in Dogs

Primary collateral ligament repair is almost always required as the result of injury from falls or some other form of trauma. Preventing this form of surgery requires following standard safety procedures for a canine such as providing fenced in yards and a watchful eye from the dog owner.