Orthopedic Outcomes Improve When Veterinary Surgeons and Rehab Teams Collaborate

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Orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation go hand in hand, say surgeon David Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS-SA, from Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, and rehabilitation specialist Matthew Brunke, DVM, DACVSMR, CCRP, CVPP, CVA, from Veterinary Surgical Centers Rehabilitation in Vienna, Virginia. These former coworkers explain why it’s important for surgeons and rehab specialists to work together for optimal patient outcomes.

The surgeon says…

For people who undergo orthopedic surgery, the process typically follows the same course—surgery, home to rest, then physical therapy, Dr. Dycus says, noting that the animal surgical experience has begun to mirror that in humans. “Over the past 10 or 15 years, the field of veterinary rehabilitation has really started to boom and come into play as being something that’s recommended on a routine basis,” he says.

It’s important for rehab specialists to be aware of the types of orthopedic surgeries their patients may have undergone. “There are lots of ways to perform surgery on a cruciate ligament rupture, but not all the tissues are going to be manipulated the same, so having that kind of understanding can improve patient care,” he says.

This is where communication between the two specialties comes in: The doctors must be coordinated for future treatment. “If I do a TPLO versus a lateral suture, for example, we really want to create a patient-centered, specific response as to how we manipulate those tissues,” Dr. Dycus says. Sharing this information is essential so the next specialist can take the right approach to the patient.