Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

The FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy) and FHNE (Femoral Head and Neck Excision) are synonymous. This surgery involves removal of the head (and a small portion of the neck) from the femur to relieve the bone on bone grinding that causes the pain associated with hip dysplasia. Just as the front limb of the dog and cat attaches to the spine by muscles only, the hip becomes a similar type of joint (a “false joint”). This procedure requires postoperative physical therapy that can usually be performed by the owner. In difficult situations, a referral to a rehabilitation center is necessary. When surveyed, at least 90% of owners are happy with the results of this surgery.

When the hip is luxated or dislocated and conservative management (replacing the the hip) is not successful or indicated, FHO is a viable option. Certain dogs will not qualify for conservative treatment. These dogs generally have hip dysplasia present or have been through failed attempts at reduction.

Another indication for FHO is a fracture of the head of the femur or of the acetabulum. If primary repair is not successful or cannot be performed due to the specifics of the fracture, FHO is a good alternative.

Legg­Calve­Perthes or aseptic necrosis of the femoral head usually occurs in young small breed dogs. The disease develops due to loss of blood supply to femoral neck. The femoral collapses onto the neck causing pain and lameness. FHO is an excellent option in these patients. Removal of the femoral head results in resolution of the pain. The femoral head may be submitted for biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.