Due to the difficulty and invasive nature of gaining access to this joint using an “open-approach”, shoulder arthroscopy has become the preferred method of intra-articular visualization in this joint. The most common reasons for shoulder arthroscopy are for the diagnosis and treatment of dogs with bicipital tenosynovitis (inflammation of the biceps tendon) and OCD lesions (osteochondritis dissecans) of the caudal humeral head. Biceps tenosynovitis and the associated inflammation can lead to full of partial tears of the tendon resulting in lameness most commonly in medium-large sized middle-older age dogs. Image 1 shows the shoulder joint of a 4 year old male Labrador Retriever with biceps tenosynovitis. The treatment of choice is arthroscopic release of the tendon and this is shown (in video 1) as a surgical scalpel is used to transect the tendon close to its point of insertion on the scapula. The biceps tendon is a secondary stabilizer of the shoulder joint and so this procedure does not produce any clinically significant instability of the joint. Following surgery the patient’s lameness quickly resolved and because of the minimal morbidity associated with the procedure he went on to make a speedy and full recovery.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

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Image 2 depicts a case of a dog with a shoulder OCD lesion that using an arthroscopic shaver we were able to debride to expose sub-chondral bone (Image 3) and over a period of time this area will become covered with fibrocartilage to provide a pain free and congruent weightbearing surface.

OCD pre-debridement
OCD post-debridement