Use of the harmonic scalpel for soft palate resection in dogs: a series of three cases

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Soft palate resection is performed to resect a redundant or diseased soft palate, often associated with brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (BAOS). Resection has been associated with numerous complications, including coughing, bleeding, pharyngeal oedema, respiratory obstruction and death. Traditionally, the surgery is performed by sharp dissection and suturing, but other reported techniques include the use of an electrothermal sealing device or a laser. Operative time for sharp dissection is approximately 12 min, but is shortened to around 5 min when using a laser, as the haemostatic properties of the instrument negates the need for post-resection oversewing. The successful use of a harmonic scalpel to resect redundant soft palates in three dogs is described. The resected soft palates were not oversewn and the surgical time was comparable with that for laser surgery. The first dog had a minor bleed 6 h postoperatively, possibly associated with suboptimal placement of the harmonic scalpel cutting jaws. The following two patients had no postoperative complications. The harmonic scalpel laparoscopic handpiece allowed excellent visualisation of the surgical field and rapid performance of the procedure. All three patients had markedly improved postoperative respiratory function. Cleaning and resterilisation permitted multiple reuse of the handpiece, making it cost-competitive with other surgical techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-514
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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