Treatment modalities for hip dysplasia in the young dog include triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), femoral head osteotomy (FHO), and total hip replacement (THR). There is a group of dogs that fall into a gray zone. They are not candidates for a TPO; they do not have advanced degenerative joint disease (DJD) and are not candidates for a FHO; and they may be too young for a THR. Yet they can have hip pain or lameness that may not respond well to medical management. These dogs may be good candidates for DARthroplasty.

Radiographs from these dogs usually reveal shallow hip joints with little or no dorsal acetabular rim. Subluxation may be moderate to severe.

DARthroplasty creates a shelf of bone from corticocancellous strips harvested from the wing of the ilium which are then sutured together to create a cup. This cup is slid under the gluteal muscles and tucked under the rotators, thereby protecting it from the sciatic nerve, then sutured to the joint capsule. The lateral cortex of the acetabular rim is perforated with holes to promote bony fusion of the graft to the rim.

Over a period of several months, a fused boney shelf forms in place of the deficient acetabular rim giving the patient a naturally formed dorsal acetabular rim providing near normal to normal hip function. Most patients can run and do all the usual things young dogs are supposed to do.

A FHO or THR can always be done at a later date, should failure of the DARthroplasty procedure occur.


Candidates for DARthroplasty should have a high Patient Assessment Score (PAS), which in general means that the patient is of mild temperament and in good physical and physiological condition to withstand 4-5 hours of surgery. In addition, the owner must be compliant with strict aftercare protocol. Only patients with high PAS scores are good candidates for success.

VSRS 2003
David R Luck, DVM
Pager: 303-855-7467


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