New NeedleView Procedure: Lavage of Septic Joints

From Biovision’s Views Newsletter, Issue 1, Q1 2016

Every day, all around the world, veterinarians are using Biovision’s 1.2mm NeedleView® arthroscope to provide a higher standard of care for animals both large and small. Many are investigating or developing new procedures for the technology (see Views newsletter, Issue 2, 2nd quarter 2015 at for details).

Recently, we learned that Shane Miller, DVM, DACVS of Comstock Equine Hospital in Reno, NV has been using NeedleView® in the diagnosis and treatment of septic arthritis in horses. We caught up with him on the phone to learn more.

Biovision (BV): How long have you been using Biovision’s NeedleView® arthroscope in your practice?
Shane Miller (SM): I purchased the NeedleView® Arthroscope Suite in October, 2012, so a little more than three years.

BV: How do you use the NeedleView® most days?
SM: I do a lot of stifle diagnostics, primarily because of my practice’s population and caseload. I also use it for exploration in areas like the tendon sheath, coffin, fetlock, and carpus. I even use it for sinuses to see masses, tumors, and fluid. I think I like it best in the navicular bursa when there has been penetration of a foreign object – although I don’t do those cases with the horse standing.

BV: Was it difficult for you to learn to use the NeedleView® and incorporate it into your practice?
SM: It was really simple for me, because I had already done a lot of surgery and arthroscopy. Once you are comfortable with the anatomy of whatever space you’re in, using the NeedleView becomes a lateral move to a tool that gives you enhanced access and allows you to do more procedures with the animal standing and conscious.

BV: Tell us about the new way you’re using the NeedleView®.
SM: I recently started using the NeedleView® on horses that present with septic arthritis. [Editor’s note: septic arthritis is inflammation of a joint caused by bacteria or other micro-organisms.]  The typical approach is to lay the horse down with general anesthesia and use a standard 4mm arthroscope to lavage or flush the joint. With the NeedleView®, I can leave the horse standing and conscious but sedated, I can flush the joint, and I can generally get further into the joint than with a 4mm scope. If I see lots of fibrin deposition, I can put an instrument in from the other side – using the NeedleView® to guide me – and pull it out.

BV: How have clients responded to your use of the NeedleView®?
SM: Whenever I can do an effective procedure without laying a horse down, it’s a win for the animal, the client, and me. When there’s no general anesthesia, there’s typically less morbidity and it’s almost always more cost-effective for the client. I’ve found that clients are more willing to move forward with the procedures – even if they are more expensive – if it means the horse can remain standing and conscious.


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