Storz arthroscope by Dr Mark Ethell, Canberra Equine Hospital, Canberra, ACT.
The arthroscope has really improved how we inspect joints of horses. In the old days we had to make a big incision and investigate visually during open surgery. An arthroscope makes the whole procedure much less invasive. The Storz model that I use is actually designed to be used on people. When footballers have their knees done, this is the same instrument that is put into their joint.
What’s good about it: It’s small—about the size of a pencil—which means we only need to make an incision of about 8mm in order to have a really thorough look around. With the arthroscope inserted into one side of the joint, we make a second incision on the other side to insert the instruments. This makes it easy to insert, remove and change instruments. A live image from the arthroscope is transmitted to a television screen or computer monitor. There is a bit of a learning curve to performing surgery while looking at the monitor. However, the image is highly magnified and the view you get by using this technique is far superior to performing open surgery. There is much better infection control when using an arthroscope and healing occurs much more quickly after the operation. There’s also much less post-surgery pain for the animal. While this model is perfect for use on horses, there is also a smaller version that can be used on dogs and cats.
What’s not so good: I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it. It’s almost the perfect tool—it does what it’s meant to do.
Where did you get it? We purchased ours from N. Stenning & Co but I believe Storz supply their own equipment now.