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Use of an Ultrasonically Activated Scalpel for Splenectomy in 10 Dogs with Naturally Occurring Splenic Disease


Address reprint requests to Stephen R. Royals, DVM, Small Animal Clincal Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100126, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126. E-mail:


Objective— To evaluate the safety and efficacy of an ultrasonically activated scalpel for performing splenectomy, with minimal ligation, in dogs.

Study Design— Prospective clinical study.

Animals— Dogs (10) with naturally occurring splenic disease.

Methods— Between October 2003 and February 2004, splenectomy was performed using an ultrasonically activated scalpel and a double seal method, in 10 dogs with naturally occurring splenic disease. Time for splenectomy and number of ligatures required were recorded. Intraoperative hemostasis, device ease of use, postoperative hemorrhage, and short-term survival were evaluated.

Results— Mean operative time for splenectomy, exclusive of celiotomy and closure, was 18 minutes (range, 8–25 minutes). The mean number of ligatures needed to perform splenectomy was 1 (range, 0–2 ligatures). One dog hemorrhaged from the splenic vein after ultrasonic scalpel transection of a vessel >5-mm diameter and required a ligature. The ultrasonic scalpel was easy to use, with a minimal learning curve. None of the dogs had postoperative abdominal hemorrhage; 9 dogs were discharged and 1 dog was euthanatized because of septicemia.

Conclusion— Ultrasonic activated scalpel may be used to achieve efficient and safe hemostasis of the splenic vascular pedicle in dogs with minimal need for vascular ligation.

Clinical Relevance— Ultrasonic scalpels can be used to perform splenectomy in dogs with naturally occurring splenic disease.