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Objective

To evaluate a laser ablation technique for treatment of thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease in dogs.

Design

Prospective case series.

Animals

33 dogs with signs of recurrent back pain associated with intervertebral disk disease after the initial episode had been managed conservatively for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Procedure

Spinal needles were placed percutaneously through the annulus fibroses to permit delivery of an optical fiber into the nucleus pulposes of thoracolumbar intervertebral disks T10-11 through L3-4. Fluoroscopy was used to guide needle placement. Holmium yttrium aluminum garnet laser energy then was used to ablate the contents of each selected intervertebral disk. Intervals from time of treatment to time of assessment ranged from 3 to 114 weeks.

Results

All dogs recovered without complication. Results of follow-up radiography and histologic evaluation indicated that percutaneous holmium yttrium aluminum garnet laser ablation reduces the volume of nucleus pulposus in treated disks.

Clinical Implications

Used as a clinical treatment and prophylactically, this minimally invasive procedure should prevent further extrusion of partially herniated disks and should reduce the chances of subsequent herniation of disks at other treatment sites. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1263–1267)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association