Needleview Pioneer: Dr. Chad Devitt

From Biovision’s Views Newsletter, Issue 2, May 2015

Cha Devitt

Vet: Chad Devitt
Affiliation: VRCC Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital
Position: One of the owners of Veterinary Surgical Services at VRCC
Focus: Small/companion animals
Location: Englewood, CO
Contact: 
URL: http://www.vrcc.com

I first became involved with Biovision around 2004. Dr. Jim Hailey, now of Alpine Vet Clinic of Fraser, CO, called me about developing equipment and technology to perform laparoscopically-assisted ovariohysterectomies in dogs. Along with Dr. Ray Cox of Deer Creek Animal Hospital of Littleton, CO, we conducted a research study to describe a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy (LAOHE) and compare duration of surgery, complications, measures of surgical stress, and postoperative pain with open ovariohysterectomy (OHE) in dogs. We used Biovision’s EndoDiagnostic & Surgical Suite (EDSS) product to perform the procedures. Our results, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Sep 15;227(6):921-7), showed that LAOHE caused less pain and surgical stress than OHE and could be appropriate for an outpatient setting.

A few years after that, John [Small] asked me to try out the NeedleView system and give him feedback about what it enabled us to see and how it affected our clinical decision-making. Since then, we use the NeedleView an average of 2-3 times per month, depending on our caseload.

I’ve used it primarily for diagnostics in dogs that present with lameness, stiffness, or other symptoms of arthritis. X-ray and CT may not demonstrate findings – for example, in cases of fragmented medial coronoid process. The NeedleView scope is helpful to decide if the dog would benefit from debridement.

Key benefit(s) of the NeedleView modality: The benefits to NeedleView include that it’s less costly to perform than full-blown arthroscopy. We can generally do it with heavy sedation and a local block, so we avoid the risks and costs of general anesthesia. We also like that we can perform NeedleView diagnostic procedures on a prep table; this removes the need for OR time and its associated costs, plus it means that clients can usually watch the procedure.

For what practitioner/practice is NeedleView best suited? I wouldn’t say NeedleView arthoscopy is easier than conventional arthroscopy; you need to be experienced with arthroscopy techniques to get the full benefit from NeedleView. While it won’t replace a full conventional arthroscopy kit, NeedleView is plenty useful.