Dislocated Hip in Pets (Luxation)

Luxation or disloction of the hip joint is a common injury following blunt trauma such as a car accident. Typically dogs stand with the leg rotated and are not willing to weight bear at all. The ‘ball’ can displace in different directions and this can affect the surgery that needs to be done. The first step is to relocate the ‘ball’ back into the ‘socket’ manually. This requires anaesthesia. A special sling is carefully placed to keep the ball in the socket. Up to 50% of the time this is successful. If the hip develops recurrent luxation, open surgery is required to hold the ball in place – we call this open reduction. The most common technique uses an anchor inside the pelvis to hold strong suture material which passes through a bone tunnel in the ball (Toggle pin technique). The success rate is high (>80%) if pets are exercise restricted after surgery. The ball can alternatively be removed as a salvage procedure, although the function is not quite as good and the recovery process is longer too (excision arthroplasty / femoral head and neck excision). If you have a big dog and the hip has been dislocated for a longer time, a false joint can also be considered (total hip replacement).

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