Ultrasonography as a method to determine tendon cross-sectional area

Carol Gillis From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Neil Sharkey From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Susan M. Stover From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Roy R. Pool From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Dennis M. Meagher From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Neil Willits From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis) Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology (Stover), Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology (Pool), and Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (Sharkey), and Division of Statistics (Willits), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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SUMMARY

Ultrasonographic cross-sectional area (csa) measurements of equine superficial digital flexor (sdf) tendon were obtained to determine the feasibility of ultrasonography for csa measurement of tendon in vivo and in vitro. Ultrasonographic measurements were compared with a more traditional csa measurement method, ink-blot analysis. In addition, values for ultrasonographic sdf tendon mean echogenicity were obtained in vivo and in vitro. The left forelimb sdf tendons of 23 horses were evaluated ultrasonographically. Cross-sectional images were acquired at 4-cm intervals distal to the base of the accessory carpal bone (dacb) to the level of the proximal sesamoid bones while horses were standing squarely. After euthanasia, the left forelimbs were mounted in a materials testing system (mts) and loaded under tension to standing load. Ultrasonographic images were again acquired at the same locations. The ultrasonographic images were digitized, and values for ultrasonographic csa and mean echogenicity were obtained for each level.

Immediately after mechanical testing, a 1-cm-thick transverse section of sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb was removed. Three ink blots were prepared from each end of the removed tendon section and digitized. The 6 csa values were averaged to generate a value for morphologic csa for each sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb.

Standing ultrasonographic tendon csa at 12 cm dacb was consistently smallest (mean ± sd csa = 86 ± 11 mm2), followed by mts ultrasonographic csa (mean, 95 ± 12 mm2), ink-blot morphologic csa being largest (mean, 99 ± 15 mm2). Comparison of standing and mts ultrasonographic csa values at 12 cm dacb revealed a strong positive linear correlation between methods (R2 = 0.74, P = 0.001). Comparison of ink-blot csa at 12 cm dacb with standing and mts ultrasonographic csa revealed strong positive linear correlations (R2 = 0.64, P = 0.001 and R2 = 0.72, P = 0.001, respectively).

For ultrasonographic mean echogenicity, standing values insignificantly exceeded mts values at each level. The authors conclude that ultrasonography is a useful technique for the noninvasive assessment of sdf tendon csa that can be applied in vivo and in vitro.

SUMMARY

Ultrasonographic cross-sectional area (csa) measurements of equine superficial digital flexor (sdf) tendon were obtained to determine the feasibility of ultrasonography for csa measurement of tendon in vivo and in vitro. Ultrasonographic measurements were compared with a more traditional csa measurement method, ink-blot analysis. In addition, values for ultrasonographic sdf tendon mean echogenicity were obtained in vivo and in vitro. The left forelimb sdf tendons of 23 horses were evaluated ultrasonographically. Cross-sectional images were acquired at 4-cm intervals distal to the base of the accessory carpal bone (dacb) to the level of the proximal sesamoid bones while horses were standing squarely. After euthanasia, the left forelimbs were mounted in a materials testing system (mts) and loaded under tension to standing load. Ultrasonographic images were again acquired at the same locations. The ultrasonographic images were digitized, and values for ultrasonographic csa and mean echogenicity were obtained for each level.

Immediately after mechanical testing, a 1-cm-thick transverse section of sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb was removed. Three ink blots were prepared from each end of the removed tendon section and digitized. The 6 csa values were averaged to generate a value for morphologic csa for each sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb.

Standing ultrasonographic tendon csa at 12 cm dacb was consistently smallest (mean ± sd csa = 86 ± 11 mm2), followed by mts ultrasonographic csa (mean, 95 ± 12 mm2), ink-blot morphologic csa being largest (mean, 99 ± 15 mm2). Comparison of standing and mts ultrasonographic csa values at 12 cm dacb revealed a strong positive linear correlation between methods (R2 = 0.74, P = 0.001). Comparison of ink-blot csa at 12 cm dacb with standing and mts ultrasonographic csa revealed strong positive linear correlations (R2 = 0.64, P = 0.001 and R2 = 0.72, P = 0.001, respectively).

For ultrasonographic mean echogenicity, standing values insignificantly exceeded mts values at each level. The authors conclude that ultrasonography is a useful technique for the noninvasive assessment of sdf tendon csa that can be applied in vivo and in vitro.

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