The use of the Harmonic Aries Blade in clinical canine patients undergoing spinal surgery – Blinded, randomized clinical trial in dogs


The purpose of this clinical trial is to establish the effectiveness and safety of the Harmonic Aries Blade (Ethicon Inc.) in dogs with spontaneous disk disease requiring decompressive surgery.


Laminectomies are among the most common procedures in veterinary neuro/orthopedic surgery. Soft tissue dissection required for the procedure is similar to that of approaches to the human spine, traditionally using a mixture of sharp dissection with scissors, blunt dissection with periosteal elevators, and electrocautery. While bleeding during the approach is rarely a problem for the patient, even small amounts can significantly slow down surgery and impair the ability to see the spinal cord during the procedure, potentially impacting clinical outcomes. For this reason, it is believed that the use of Harmonic technology to the laminectomy approach could decrease potential complications and therefore make the surgical approach easier without any effects on the patient.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Dogs weighing 5-30 kgs (11-66 lbs) that have documented evidence (CT or MRI) of spinal cord compression predominately at one site, secondary to thoracolumbar intervertebral disk extrusion (IDVE = ruptured disk) between T10 and L6 that requires surgery
  • The affected area along the spine must not have had any previous surgery
  • Should have no underlying systemic disorder including heart, kidney or liver disease
  • All candidates must have confirmed (by OSU clinicians) deep pain response 12 hours, or less, before surgery is performed

Study Design

Once your dog has been deemed eligible to enter the study, he/she will be randomized to either the control (standard surgical approach) or experimental surgical approach group using the harmonic blade. You will be kept blinded of the approach until the completion of the study and asked to fill out quality of life questionnaires. Dogs will be evaluated at OSU VMC at 3 different time points:

  1. Peri- and immediately postoperatively during initial hospitalization
  2. 10 days postoperatively at time of suture removal
  3. 30 days postoperatively at time of neurologic recheck

Client Compensation

  • A one-time credit of $750 after the final study recheck and completion of the quality of life questionnaires

Client Cost

  • If the animal is voluntarily withdrawn from the study at any time, the $750 credit will not be received
  • All other costs associated with the surgery are to be covered by the owner


Dr. Hettlich 7-1852