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  • Author or Editor: E. M. Bakker x
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Objective—To develop a method to discriminate between structure-related echoes and echoes resulting from interference, as observed in transverse ultrasonographic images of equine superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendons.

Sample Population—2 normal (injury-free) SDF tendons obtained from a 3-year-old Thoroughbred and a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood horse.

Procedure—Tendons were mounted in a custommade device that permitted exact transverse and perpendicular sequential scanning with precise steps of 0.5 mm along the long axis of the tendon. Photographs of ultrasonographic images of transverse tendon sections at the exact scanning locations were obtained. Propagation, reflection, and refraction artifacts were quantified, and an image rectification procedure was developed, allowing exact matching of each photograph with the corresponding ultrasonographic image. A correlation routine was developed that departed from this transverse ultrasonographic image (position 0); this routine added information from images collected at precise distances of 0.5 and 1 mm on both sides of the actual scan location (positions –2, –1, +1, +2).

Results—By use of the correlation routine, echoes that remained steady over all 5 images were enhanced and resolved, and constantly changing echoes were multiplicatively reduced and faded. This correlated image could be projected over the rectified photograph, and the resolved echoes matched perfectly with the endotendon septa surrounding fibers and fasciculi.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The correlation routine permits exclusive resolution of structurerelated echoes, as echoes resulting from interference are faded. The technique described can produce images that depict only the essential structure-related information. In this way, the clinical assessment of tendon integrity is greatly facilitated. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:202–209)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To correlate quantitative analysis of ultrasonographic images of normal (injury-free) equine superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendons and equine SFD tendons that have pathologic changes with corresponding histologic sections.

Sample Population—4 SDF tendons, 2 of which had various stages of tissue integrity. The 2 ipsilateral tendons were used as points of reference.

Procedure—Tendons were mounted in a custommade device that permitted sequential scanning, transversely and perpendicular to the tendon long axis. At precise steps of 0.5 mm, transverse ultrasonographic images were collected. Subsequently, tendons were fixed and prepared for histologic examination. The following 8 tissue types were discerned: normal young, normal old, necrotic, early granulation, late granulation, early fibrotic, late fibrotic, and scar tissues. In areas of interest, the corresponding ultrasonographic images were selected for gray level statistical analysis.

Results—Compared with other tissue types, earlystage granulation tissue was characterized by substantially lower mean gray level and a clearly different histogram. Necrotic tissue had a higher mean gray level, with a virtually normal histogram. In late granulation and early fibrotic tissues, the mean gray level and the histogram could not be discerned from those of normal tendon tissue. The same applied to late fibrotic and scar tissues; mean gray levels were fractionally lower than those of normal tendon tissue with a completely normal histogram.

Conclusions—Although quantification of the transverse ultrasonographic image by use of first-order gray level statistics may be helpful, the method is not sufficiently sensitive to accurately and unequivocally determine the type of tendon tissue. Quantitative analysis should incorporate transverse and longitudinal information. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61: 210–219)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research