Effects of experimental desmotomy on material properties and histomorphologic and ultrasonographic features of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon in clinically normal horses

C. K. Becker From the Departments of General and Large Animal Surgery and Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.153, NL-3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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H. H. C. M. Savelberg From the Departments of General and Large Animal Surgery and Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.153, NL-3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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H. H. F. Buchner From the Departments of General and Large Animal Surgery and Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.153, NL-3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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A. Barneveld From the Departments of General and Large Animal Surgery and Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.153, NL-3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate posttrauma biomechanical behavior of the scar attributable to desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon (AL-DDFT), compared with the histomorphologic and ultrasonographic appearance.

Animals

5 Standardbred trotters.

Procedure

Gross appearance, length, cross-sectional area (CSA), in vitro material properties, and ultrasonographic and histomorphologic features were studied 6 months after desmotomy. Tensile tests were conducted, with forces and elongation simultaneously recorded. Surgically treated limbs were compared with nontreated contralateral limbs.

Results

The CSA of the treated ligaments was increased threefold, and treated ligaments were 1 cm longer than control ligaments. In the healed AL-DDFT, stress and material stiffness were approximately a third of those values for controls. The functional characteristics, force and elongation at failure, reached 80% of control values. Ultrasonographic and the histomorphologic examination of the scar tissue revealed high amounts of randomly oriented collagen.

Conclusion

From the ultrasonographic and histomorphologic findings and the material properties, it was concluded that the scar tissue was of inferior quality. However, the functional properties had been restored for the most part by increase of the CSA. The length increase may lead to strain relief in the AL-DDFT after desmotomy.

Clinical Relevance

Desmotomy is recommended as treatment for chronic desmitis. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:352–358)

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate posttrauma biomechanical behavior of the scar attributable to desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon (AL-DDFT), compared with the histomorphologic and ultrasonographic appearance.

Animals

5 Standardbred trotters.

Procedure

Gross appearance, length, cross-sectional area (CSA), in vitro material properties, and ultrasonographic and histomorphologic features were studied 6 months after desmotomy. Tensile tests were conducted, with forces and elongation simultaneously recorded. Surgically treated limbs were compared with nontreated contralateral limbs.

Results

The CSA of the treated ligaments was increased threefold, and treated ligaments were 1 cm longer than control ligaments. In the healed AL-DDFT, stress and material stiffness were approximately a third of those values for controls. The functional characteristics, force and elongation at failure, reached 80% of control values. Ultrasonographic and the histomorphologic examination of the scar tissue revealed high amounts of randomly oriented collagen.

Conclusion

From the ultrasonographic and histomorphologic findings and the material properties, it was concluded that the scar tissue was of inferior quality. However, the functional properties had been restored for the most part by increase of the CSA. The length increase may lead to strain relief in the AL-DDFT after desmotomy.

Clinical Relevance

Desmotomy is recommended as treatment for chronic desmitis. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:352–358)

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