What is the Sacral Luxation Repair procedure?
The Sacrum and Ilium form a non-movable joint on each side of the pelvis. This Sacroiliac joint can become separated either on only one side or both sides. This is called a Sacral Luxation. When both sides are separated there is no stability at all to the Pelvis. The surgical procedure is designed to reattach one or both sides with the least amount of trauma to soft tissues of the pelvis. A general procedure is to place two stainless steel surgical screws through the Ilium in to the Sacrum that has been aligned by one of three methods. In some cases it is possible to make a small incision and digitally align the Sacrum and Ilium. In large dogs it is necessary to use an X-ray, Fluoroscope or an MRI. When the bones are aligned a small pin is placed to keep parts together. A surgical drill is then used to drill a pilot hole to put the fixation screw into. Great care must be taken to not drill or place the screw so deep that it encounters the nerve trunk at the end of the spinal cord. The pin is removed and a second screw is put in the hole.
What are the indications for surgery?
Surgery is always indicated if both sides are luxated. Some animals will get along fairly well if only one side is luxated and managed with antibiotics, pain relievers and laxatives. It is almost always better to repair the luxation surgically.
How long will my pet be in the hospital?
This is always a question everyone wants to know and it always depends. Since most of these cases are caused by some major trauma some of the patients are very sore and some may have other complicating conditions. Good nursing is very important after surgery to treat any wounds, see that pet eats well and has good eliminations. Strict rest is important for first one to five days and then as soon as the patient can stand and walk, controlled exercise is started.
What is the prognosis following surgery?
The prognosis is excellent in most cases, especially those with only one side involved. If directions issued by the Veterinarian are carefully followed there are seldom any complications from the surgery. Take into account however that the cause of the Sacral Luxation is generally due to severe trauma and that can sometimes be a problem.
What post-operative care is required after surgery?
Even though the pet may seem to be almost back to normal after surgery; follow all instructions given by your Veterinary Surgeon. Close supervision is mandatory for at least four weeks. Most failures are the result of the owner not providing good supervision of the pet after it goes home.
What are the complications or risks associated with this surgery?
There are few risks to the surgery and would anticipate no complications.
Are any follow-up appointments required during the post-operative period?
In most cases the surgeon would like to see a follow up X-ray after four to six weeks. If any time during the recovery period you pet exhibits signs of not doing well, contact your veterinarian immediately. Most complications are due to a lack of close supervision during the early healing stage.