OBJECTIVE To evaluate the potential usefulness of epiduroscopy for clinical diagnosis and treatment of vertebral canal and spinal cord lesions in dogs.
SAMPLE Cadavers of 6 mixed-breed dogs.
PROCEDURES Dogs were positioned in sternal recumbency, and an endoscope was introduced into the lumbosacral epidural space. A fiberscope (diameter, 0.9 mm; length, 30 cm) was used for 3 dogs, and a videoscope (diameter, 2.8 mm; length, 70 cm) was used for the other 3 dogs. Visibility and identities of anatomic structures were recorded, and maneuverability of the endoscopes was assessed. Extent of macroscopic tissue damage was evaluated by manual dissection of the vertebral canal at the end of the procedure.
RESULTS Intermittent saline (0.9% NaCl) solution infusion, CO2 insufflation, and endoscope navigation improved visualization by separating the epidural fat from the anatomic structures of interest. Images obtained with the fiberscope were small and of poor quality, making identification of specific structures difficult. Maneuverability of the fiberscope was difficult, and target structures could not be reliably reached or identified. Maneuverability and image quality of the videoscope were superior, and spinal nerve roots, spinal dura mater, epidural fat, and blood vessels could be identified. Subsequent manual dissection of the vertebral canal revealed no gross damage in the spinal cord, nerve roots, or blood vessels.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE A 2.8-mm videoscope was successfully used to perform epiduroscopy through the lumbosacral space in canine cadavers. Additional refinement and evaluation of the technique in live dogs is necessary before its use can be recommended for clinical situations.