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Use of laterally placed vacuum drains for management of aural hematomas in five dogs

Michael M. PavleticDepartment of Surgery, Angell Animal Medical Center, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02130.

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Abstract

Case Description—5 dogs (a Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, Shiba Inu, Staffordshire Terrier, and Vizsla) were referred for evaluation and treatment of unilateral aural hematomas within a week after their formation.

Clinical Findings—Aural hematomas involved the left (3) or right (2) ears.

Treatment and Outcome—With patients under anesthesia, the aural hematomas were approached surgically from the convex, or lateral, pinnal surface. Two small incisions were used to position a vacuum drain into the incised hematoma cavity. The drain exited at the base of the pinna and adjacent cervical skin. The free end of the drain was attached to a vacuum reservoir for 18 to 21 days. Drains and skin sutures were removed at this time along with the protective Elizabethan collar. All hematomas resolved and surgical sites healed during the minimum 6-month follow-up period. Cosmetic results were considered excellent in 4 of 5 patients. Slight wrinkling of the pinna in 1 patient resulted from asymmetric enlargement of the cartilaginous walls of the hematoma, where vacuum application resulted in a slight folding of the redundant lateral cartilage wall.

Clinical Relevance—The described treatment was efficient, economical, and minimally invasive and required no bandaging or wound care. Placement of the drain tubing on the convex (lateral) aspect sheltered the system from displacement by patients with an Elizabethan collar in place. Overall cosmetic results were excellent; asymmetric enlargement of the cartilaginous walls of the hematoma with slight folding of the pinna was seen in 1 patient.

Abstract

Case Description—5 dogs (a Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, Shiba Inu, Staffordshire Terrier, and Vizsla) were referred for evaluation and treatment of unilateral aural hematomas within a week after their formation.

Clinical Findings—Aural hematomas involved the left (3) or right (2) ears.

Treatment and Outcome—With patients under anesthesia, the aural hematomas were approached surgically from the convex, or lateral, pinnal surface. Two small incisions were used to position a vacuum drain into the incised hematoma cavity. The drain exited at the base of the pinna and adjacent cervical skin. The free end of the drain was attached to a vacuum reservoir for 18 to 21 days. Drains and skin sutures were removed at this time along with the protective Elizabethan collar. All hematomas resolved and surgical sites healed during the minimum 6-month follow-up period. Cosmetic results were considered excellent in 4 of 5 patients. Slight wrinkling of the pinna in 1 patient resulted from asymmetric enlargement of the cartilaginous walls of the hematoma, where vacuum application resulted in a slight folding of the redundant lateral cartilage wall.

Clinical Relevance—The described treatment was efficient, economical, and minimally invasive and required no bandaging or wound care. Placement of the drain tubing on the convex (lateral) aspect sheltered the system from displacement by patients with an Elizabethan collar in place. Overall cosmetic results were excellent; asymmetric enlargement of the cartilaginous walls of the hematoma with slight folding of the pinna was seen in 1 patient.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Pavletic (mpavletic@angell.org).