Top 5 Complications of Gonadectomy
Gonadectomy (ie, ovariohysterectomy [OHE] or neutering) is one of the most commonly performed veterinary surgical procedures.[1-6] Check out common complications in this article by Karen M. Tobias DVM, MS, DACVS, University of Tennessee from our official practice journal, Clinician’s Brief.
Gonadectomy reduces pet overpopulation and euthanasia in animal shelters and decreases the risk for gonadal tumors, mammary neoplasia and pyometra in dams and queens, and perianal adenomas and benign prostatic hyperplasia in male dogs. It may also increase longevity and reduce hormonally driven behavior.
Although gonadectomy is considered a routine procedure, complications can arise. Following are 5 of the most common complications of gonadectomy according to the author.
1 Incisional Complications
Incisional inflammation is an expected effect of any surgery and typically resolves without treatment; incisional complications, however, occur less frequently and are likely underreported, as clinicians may not closely evaluate the incision line after anesthetic recovery or may not record findings they consider expected, minor, or self-limiting. Incisional complications associated with gonadectomy can include incisional and/or scrotal swelling, pain, redness, seromas, hernias, peri-incisional dermatitis, and skin bruising and generally occur more frequently in dogs >50 lb (22.7 kg) and in cats.[4,9-11]
Incision location may affect complication rates. For example, in a study of kittens undergoing OHE, incisional complications occurred more commonly with a midline approach as compared with a flank approach. In a study of dogs, prescrotal neuters resulted in a higher rate of self-trauma than did scrotal neuters, which may be attributed to scrotal neuters being performed without suture closure, thus lessening the amount of tissue handling.[10,11]
Figure 1: Incisional infection and dehiscence after OHE in a dog (patient orientation, head left)
Surgical-site infections and other serious wound complications that are suggestive of infection (eg, wound pain and swelling, dehiscence, drainage; Figure 1) have been reported in 0.1% to 3% of elective gonadectomies.[1,2,4,13] This rate is similar to the infection rates reported for clean, elective procedures in general (2.3%-5.7%). Infection rates can be reduced by decreasing surgery duration and using appropriate surgical technique (eg, gentle tissue handling, closure of dead space).[14,15]