7 benefits of sedation for orthopedic examinations

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7 benefits of sedation for orthopedic examinations

Trying to determine whether a patient has hip dysplasia or a cranial cruciate ligament tear? Here's why sedation may be called for.
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Oct 06, 2015

When evaluating patients for cranial cruciate ligament tears or hip dysplasia, it is imperative that your diagnosis be correct. Performing an examination while the patient is sedated can help. Here’s why.

1. Sedation allows you to check for cranial drawer, tibial thrust, and Barden and Ortolani signs.

2. With the patient under light sedation, you may still notice subtle pain responses, such as an increased respiratory rate or the patient pulling on its leg. 

3. Under heavy sedation, the patient is totally relaxed, which allows you to evaluate the joint more accurately than in an awake patient. 

4. Sedation allows you to perform arthrocentesis on the knees, which is an invaluable test (crudely, normal fluid = clear, tiny amount, and viscous; abnormal fluid = yellowish, large amount, and watery).

5. Sedation allows you to block a joint with lidocaine or corticosteroids.

6. Sedation enables you to perform a radiographic examination with the patient perfectly positioned (knee = tibial plateau leveling osteotomy position, with a quarter in the picture; hip = Orthopedic Foundation for Animals style) without causing pain.

7. Sedation allows you to focus and take your time without fighting with your patient and alienating your technicians.