Tools of the trade: Multi Saw

oscillating saw
Copyright: schan / 123RF Stock Photo

by Dr David Larratt, Wallsend Vet, NSW

This is a versatile, multi-functional oscillating saw. Not only is it useful for removing fibreglass casts and cutting goat horns but by adding a blade attachment, it can be used for orthopaedic surgery.

What’s good about it

It’s safe to use as the vibrating blade will not cut skin, muscle or tissue—it only cuts objects that can’t move. Along with cutting bone and horns, it’s also very effective at hoof removal in horses. 

The blades are affordable and you get a few orthopaedic bone-cutting procedures from each one. Its main ortho tasks are femoral head resection, tibial osteotomies for patella luxation and tibial plateau surgeries for cruciate rupture (TTO—triple tibial osteotomy and TTA—tibial tuberosity advancement). Use of the Multi Saw means the bone is only cut from the medial side of the tibia which spares all the muscle attachment and periosteum on the lateral side. This greatly improves the success rate of any bone procedure. Sterile water is squirted onto the blade when cutting bone to avoid any thermal damage.

There are battery-powered and electric versions of the Multi Saw but I prefer the electric option as it has more grunt. I’ve had this saw for nine years, use it at least weekly and have never had a problem with it. While there are other orthopaedic saws on the market, the Multi Saw works effectively and is cheaper to purchase.

What’s not so good

There’s a stainless-steel extension piece that the blades hook into and that extension piece is connected onto the body of the saw. This creates an interface between something that’s sterile and something that’s not sterile. It can be a bit fiddly doing that change but with a little practice it’s easy to achieve.

As the saw is electric, it can only be sterilised in a gas steriliser. However, I elect to cover the saw in a sterile re-useable cloth shroud.

Where did you get it

Veterinary Instrumentation  

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