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JPS – Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis


With the development of PennHIP radiographs or xrays, it is now possible to evaluate a puppy’s risk of developing arthritis from hip dysplasia as early as 4 months!  This helps breeders choose dogs for their breeding stock much earlier than before.  Additionally, it helps us identify dogs with hip dysplasia during their growing phase, where early intervention can reduce the development of arthritis.

Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) is a minimally invasive procedure which changes the dog’s hip joint conformation.  It is generally performed in puppies age 4-5 months (the earlier the better) if indicated by PennHIP radiographs.  At this point in their development, puppies are still growing and changing.  The goal of the procedure is to cause premature closure of the cranial pubic symphysis (pubic growth plate).  The cranial pubic symphysis causes most of the longitudinal growth in the pelvis.  If we “fuse” this growth plate, it stops growing.  The rest of the pelvis, however, continues to grow.  What results is the outward rotation of the acetabuli (the “sockets” of the hip joint), which improves the coverage of the femoral heads (the “balls” of the hip joint).


Patients undergoing JPS are placed under general anesthesia for the procedure.  An incision is made between the hind legs to access the growth plate.  Electrocautery is used to destroy the growing cells in the cranial pubic symphysis.  Depending on what time the surgery is performed, the patient will either go home the same day or the day after the procedure.

After the procedure, it takes approximately 10-14 days for the incision to heal.  Puppies should be leash-walked, no running or jumping after the procedure for 4-8 weeks.

  • Research has shown that this procedure is very successful at reducing laxity in the hip joint and arthritis if the patient is selected appropriately (based on age and PennHIP xrays).

  • The JPS procedure itself is relatively simple and associated with minimal postoperative complications.

  • Puppies should have PennHIP xrays at 4 months of age in order to select candidates for JPS.  Dogs benefit is the greatest when the JPS procedure is done as early as possible.