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Fat graft during surgery

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Neuro Corner Answers

Dr. Andrew Isaacs
DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)
Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center

Primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, seizure management, luxations/fractures of the spine, and surgery for brain tumors



What is the “fat graft” during surgery?


A fat graft relates to a component of the surgery for decompressing the spinal cord secondary to herniated intervertebral disk material.

A dog’s spinal cord is well protected.  A major part of this protection are the bones of the spinal column (vertebrae).  In order to expose the region of the spinal cord that is compressed some of the vertebral bone is removed.  After the herniated disk material is removed there is a defect in the bone exposing the spinal cord.  In order to facilitate the healing process and protect the spinal cord one of two materials is placed into the defect in the bone of the vertebra.  The two materials are either fat from the surrounding tissue (fat graft), or man-made material (gel foam).  The choice of fat versus gel foam is surgeon’s preference.

Andrew Isaacs, DVM
Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)

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