Evaluation of computed tomographic anatomy of the equine metacarpophalangeal joint

Katrien Vanderperren Department of Veterinary Medical Imaging and Small Animal Orthopaedics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Benoit Ghaye Department of Medical Imaging, University Hospital Sart-Tilman, Domaine Universitaire du Sart-Tilman B 35, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

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Frédéric R. Snaps Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

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Jimmy H. Saunders Department of Veterinary Medical Imaging and Small Animal Orthopaedics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the detailed computed tomography (CT) anatomy of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in healthy horses.

Sample Population—10 cadaveric forelimbs from 10 adult horses without orthopedic disease.

Procedures—CT of the MCP joint was performed on 4 forelimbs. In 1 of the limbs, CT was also performed after intra-articular injection of 30 mL of contrast medium (40 mg of iodine/mL). Transverse slices 1-mm thick were obtained, and sagittal and dorsal planes were reformatted with a slice thickness of 2 mm. The CT images were matched with corresponding anatomic slices from 6 additional forelimbs.

Results—The third metacarpal bone, proximal sesamoid bones, and proximal phalanx could be clearly visualized. Common digital extensor tendon; accessory digital extensor tendon; lateral digital extensor tendon; superficial digital flexor tendon (including manica flexoria); deep digital flexor tendon; branches of the suspensory ligament (including its attachment); extensor branches of the suspensory ligament; collateral ligaments; straight, oblique, and cruciate distal sesamoidean ligaments; intersesamoidean ligament; annular ligament; and joint capsule could be seen. Collateral sesamoidean ligaments and short distal sesamoidean ligaments could be localized but not at all times clearly identified, whereas the metacarpointersesamoidean ligament could not be identified. The cartilage of the MCP joint could be assessed on the postcontrast sequence.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—CT of the equine MCP joint can be of great value when results of radiography and ultrasonography are inconclusive. Images obtained in this study may serve as reference for CT of the equine MCP joint.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the detailed computed tomography (CT) anatomy of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in healthy horses.

Sample Population—10 cadaveric forelimbs from 10 adult horses without orthopedic disease.

Procedures—CT of the MCP joint was performed on 4 forelimbs. In 1 of the limbs, CT was also performed after intra-articular injection of 30 mL of contrast medium (40 mg of iodine/mL). Transverse slices 1-mm thick were obtained, and sagittal and dorsal planes were reformatted with a slice thickness of 2 mm. The CT images were matched with corresponding anatomic slices from 6 additional forelimbs.

Results—The third metacarpal bone, proximal sesamoid bones, and proximal phalanx could be clearly visualized. Common digital extensor tendon; accessory digital extensor tendon; lateral digital extensor tendon; superficial digital flexor tendon (including manica flexoria); deep digital flexor tendon; branches of the suspensory ligament (including its attachment); extensor branches of the suspensory ligament; collateral ligaments; straight, oblique, and cruciate distal sesamoidean ligaments; intersesamoidean ligament; annular ligament; and joint capsule could be seen. Collateral sesamoidean ligaments and short distal sesamoidean ligaments could be localized but not at all times clearly identified, whereas the metacarpointersesamoidean ligament could not be identified. The cartilage of the MCP joint could be assessed on the postcontrast sequence.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—CT of the equine MCP joint can be of great value when results of radiography and ultrasonography are inconclusive. Images obtained in this study may serve as reference for CT of the equine MCP joint.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Research Foundation-Flanders (Belgium) (F.W.O. Vlaanderen).

Presented as a poster at the Annual Conference of the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, Chalkidiki, Thessaloniki, Greece, August 29 to September 1, 2007.

The authors thank Patrick Vervaet and Kim Claus for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Saunders.
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