To describe the technique and assess the diagnostic potential and limitations of tomosynthesis for imaging of the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) of equine cadavers; compare the tomosynthesis appearance of pathological lesions with their conventional radiographic, CT, and MRI appearances; and evaluate all imaging findings with gross lesions of a given MCPJ.
Distal portions of 4 forelimbs from 4 equine cadavers.
The MCPJs underwent radiography, tomosynthesis (with a purpose-built benchtop unit), CT, and MRI; thereafter, MCPJs were disarticulated and evaluated for the presence of gross lesions. The ability to identify pathological lesions on all images was assessed, followed by semiobjective scoring for quality of the overall image and appearance of the subchondral bone, articular cartilage, periarticular margins, and adjacent trabecular bone of the third metacarpal bone, proximal phalanx, and proximal sesamoid bones of each MCPJ.
Some pathological lesions in the subchondral bone of the third metacarpal bone were detectable with tomosynthesis but not with radiography. Overall, tomosynthesis was comparable to radiography, but volumetric imaging modalities were superior to tomosynthesis and radiography for imaging of subchondral bone, articular cartilage, periarticular margins, and adjacent bone.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
With regard to the diagnostic characterization of equine MCPJs, tomosynthesis may be more accurate than radiography for identification of lesions within subchondral bone because, in part, of its ability to reduce superimposition of regional anatomic features. Tomosynthesis may be useful as an adjunctive imaging technique, highlighting subtle lesions within bone, compared with standard radiographic findings.