Surgical Tests and Procedures
After reviewing your pet’s medical history, meeting with you, and performing a thorough examination of your pet, Dr. Su will discuss her findings with you. At that time, she may recommend additional diagnostics (tests and procedures) to gain more information about your pet’s condition prior to making a treatment recommendation; additional tests may also be necessary for surgical planning and decision making. Diagnostic and treatment recommendations will be based on the problems identified at the time of exam. While every patient has an exam and consultation, electing to pursue further diagnostics, or to proceed with surgery if it’s indicated, is based on identifying the course of treatment that best fits your goals for your pet and your individual situation. Moving beyond the initial exam and consultation is always at your discretion.
Exam and consultation
Prior to your pet’s initial consultation, Dr. Su will review your pet’s medical history. This includes a review of all medical records and previously performed tests that have been provided to us. On occasion, we may ask you to pick up and bring records or radiographs (x-rays) with you to your appointment. During the consultation, Dr. Su will perform a thorough physical examination and follow with a complete orthopedic or neurologic evaluation as indicated. After examining your pet, she will review her findings with you and discuss what diagnostic or treatment options are available.
Diagnostic imaging (X-rays, Ultrasound, Advanced Imaging)
Diagnostic imaging allows us to look inside the body in a non-invasive fashion. X-rays are very good at giving us information about bone and general information about soft tissue structures. Because x-rays for pre-surgical planning require specifically positioned images, sedation is typically required to achieve the best images with the least amount of stress for your pet.
Ultrasound allows for us to see more detail in soft tissues such as organs of the abdomen or sometimes muscle and tendons. Advanced imaging such as CT or MRI is used when we need the ability to differentiate structures in 3 dimensions or very specific detail of bone or soft tissue. It is not uncommon for us to recommend one or more imaging modalities in the course of diagnosis.
At Sunstone, we are able to provide x-ray and ultrasound imaging. If your pet requires advanced imaging to assist with diagnosis or surgical planning, Dr. Su can refer you to centers where these imaging modalities are available.
Blood testing and urinalysis
Blood and urine tests are often recommended to evaluate organ function and general health prior to anesthesia or beginning certain medications. Frequently, your vet has provided us with routine bloodwork results. If not, or if additional or updated testing is recommended, samples can easily be collected and submitted to our lab or you can return to your family veterinarian for the requested tests.
Types of surgery performed by Dr. Su:
- Cranial cruciate ligament stabilization (ACL surgery)
- Patella luxation repair (MPL, dislocating/floating kneecaps)
- Management and treatment of hip dysplasia
- Management and treatment of elbow dysplasia
- Management and treatment of growth deformities
Orthopedic surgery is any surgical procedure designed to fix or stabilize injuries related to bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles. The type of surgery recommended and the types of implants used will depend on the injury or abnormality with which your pet has been diagnosed.
- Intervertebral disc disease (herniated disc)
Dogs with spinal pain or neurologic deficits secondary to intervertebral disk disease (disk herniation) may benefit from relief of their symptoms or some degree of recovery of function with appropriate surgical decompression of their spinal cord. Most dogs with spinal problems will require a specialized x-ray study (myelogram) or advanced imaging (CT or MRI) prior to surgery identify which disk(s) is/are causing the problem.
Soft Tissue / General Surgery
- Head & Neck
- Wound management
General surgery encompasses a wide range of soft tissue procedures involving surgery of skin, abdominal organs, or thoracic organs. The exact procedure will depend on what disease process your pet has been diagnosed with and what organ(s) that disease is affecting.
-Surgical treatment of cancers of all types
Cancer can affect any tissue, organ, or region of the body. Surgery for the purpose of removing cancer often requires a customized approach. The type of surgery performed will vary depending on the type of cancer your pet has, what tissues or organs are involved, and the treatment goals we are trying to achieve with surgery. When used in the course of treating cancer, the goal of surgery may be to aid in diagnosis (biopsy), to cure local disease (wide or radical excision), or just to decrease tumor burden in order to improve the likelihood of success with radiation or chemotherapy or simply as a palliative measure to improve quality of life (marginal resection, tumor debulking). Dr. Su is dedicated to working with you, your family veterinarian, and other specialists (oncologists, internal medicine specialists) to insure any surgeries undertaken are part of a personalized treatment plan for you and your pet.
- Post-operative recovery planning
- Chronic osteoarthritis management
- Chronic pain management
- Regenerative medicine
Surgery is only part of the picture! Dr. Su has special interest in post-operative recovery. She is certified in canine rehabilitation and has additional training in acupuncture. While most dogs and cats seem to recover remarkably well from surgery with minimal intervention, there are specific cases (orthopedic and neurosurgery, especially) where a focused post-operative plan is essential to recovery. If it will benefit your pet, Dr. Su will provide a home program to guide you through the post-op recovery period.