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Comparison of mean bone densities of three preparations of the distal portion of the equine third metacarpal bone measured by use of quantitative computed tomography

Marti G. Drum DVM, PhD1, Clifford M. Les DVM, PhD2, Richard D. Park DVM, PhD3, C. Wayne McIlwraith DVM, PhD4, and Christopher E. Kawcak DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Veteriary Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 2 Bone and Joint Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, 2015 Benson Ford Education and Research Building, Detroit, MI 48202.
  • | 3 Department of Environmental and Radiologic Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate whether cutting equine subchondral bone to demarcate specific regions of interest (ROIs) influences the mean density for that bone as measured via quantitative computed tomography (QCT).

Sample population—2 metacarpophalangeal joints from equine cadavers.

Procedures—The distal portion of the third metacarpal bone of each intact metacarpophalangeal joint was scanned via CT to simulate in vivo conditions. Each joint was subsequently disarticulated and dissected, and the distal portion of the dissected third metacarpal bone in air was scanned. Then, six 1-cm2 areas representing ROIs were cut into the distal condylar surfaces to depths of approximately 1 cm, and the bone was scanned again. Three-dimensional CT models of the 3 bone preparations were generated for each third metacarpal bone on the basis of data from each set of scan images, and densities of the 6 ROIs were measured. Mean bone densities for the 6 ROIs were compared among models of intact, dissected, and cut third metacarpal bone scans.

Results—Mean bone density was significantly lower in cut bone preparations, compared with that in intact or dissected bone. Differences between mean bone densities for intact and dissected bone preparations were not significant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cutting subchondral bone to demarcate specific ROIs prior to CT imaging significantly lowered mean bone density as measured via QCT and thus introduced substantial artifacts. These findings have direct implications on techniques for CT modeling of equine subchondral bone in the characterization of joint diseases in horses.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Colorado State University College Research Council.

The authors thank Billie Arceneaux for technical assistance and Dr. Phillip Chapman for assistance with statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Drum.