Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

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When a hip gets dislocated it commonly will not go back into the socket. This is painful as it slides in and out of the hip joint. When that happens we need to do a surgery to remove the head of the femur and let it form a false joint. The cause is usually trauma, and happens more often in dogs than cats.

We also use this surgery for pets with hip dysplasia that will not be undergoing the more extensive hip replacement surgery called A Total Hip.

In this procedure the head (or ball) of the femur is removed. The remaining part of the femur forms a false joint with the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the area. Even though this false joint is not as good as a real joint, there is a significant reduction in pain and over 90% return to normal function. Almost any sized dog can have this procedure even though it is much more effective in smaller dogs. Obese dogs and those with significant loss of muscle do not do as well. Compared to the other types of surgery this one is much more basic, and substantially less expensive.

This are the hips of Mickey, a very active Australian Shepherd. He has hip dysplasia on both sides. FHO surgery will be performed on his right hip.

After the skin incision is made the muscles are separated to give visualization of the femoral head. It is gently rotated and brought up as far as possible.

A special air powered drill is used to cut the neck of the femur at just the right angle

The angle in the cut of the femoral neck is apparent. Also present on the head of this femur is a piece of the round ligament, one of the structures that anchors the head of the femur into the socket.

An opening remains where the head of the femur used to reside. The remaining bone will form a false joint, and allow this pet to move about pain free and well over 90% back to normal function.

The muscles that were separated and cut are now carefully sutured. These muscles are necessary for normal movement of the false joint that will soon form.

This is what remains after the surgery. Mickey healed rapidly after the surgery and is running around as fast as before, according to his worried mom.