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Computed tomographic study of the effect of a tongue-tie on hyoid apparatus position and nasopharyngeal dimensions in anesthetized horses

Cornelis J. CornelisseDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48624.

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Diana S. RosensteinDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48624.

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Frederik J. DerksenDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48624.

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Susan J. HolcombeDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48624.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of manual tongue protrusion on the dimensions of the hyoid apparatus, nasopharynx, and oropharynx in anesthetized horses.

Animals—5 adult horses.

Procedure—Horses were anesthetized and positioned in sternal recumbency for 2 sequential computed tomographic (CT) scans. Images were acquired with the tongue in a natural position inside the mouth. Then, the tongue was pulled rostrally and secured, and a second CT scan was performed. Dorsoventral length of the hyoid apparatus and angles of the basisphenoid, basihyoid, and ceratohyoid were measured on 3-dimensional reconstructed CT images. Cross-sectional diameters and areas of the nasopharynx and oropharynx were determined on reformatted images in the transverse and longitudinal planes, using osseous landmarks for consistency. Results were tested between the 2 groups to determine significant differences.

Results—We were unable to detect a significant difference between any of the lengths or angles of the hyoid apparatus measured with or without rostral protrusion of the tongue. Similarly, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal diameters and cross-sectional areas were not significantly different with or without rostral protrusion of the tongue.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tying the tongue rostrally out of a horse's mouth did not influence the position of the hyoid apparatus or dimensions of the nasopharynx or oropharynx in anesthetized horses. Currently, no data suggest that application of a tongue-tie is effective for maintaining stability and patency of the nasopharyngeal or orolaryngeal airways in horses during races. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1865–1869)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of manual tongue protrusion on the dimensions of the hyoid apparatus, nasopharynx, and oropharynx in anesthetized horses.

Animals—5 adult horses.

Procedure—Horses were anesthetized and positioned in sternal recumbency for 2 sequential computed tomographic (CT) scans. Images were acquired with the tongue in a natural position inside the mouth. Then, the tongue was pulled rostrally and secured, and a second CT scan was performed. Dorsoventral length of the hyoid apparatus and angles of the basisphenoid, basihyoid, and ceratohyoid were measured on 3-dimensional reconstructed CT images. Cross-sectional diameters and areas of the nasopharynx and oropharynx were determined on reformatted images in the transverse and longitudinal planes, using osseous landmarks for consistency. Results were tested between the 2 groups to determine significant differences.

Results—We were unable to detect a significant difference between any of the lengths or angles of the hyoid apparatus measured with or without rostral protrusion of the tongue. Similarly, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal diameters and cross-sectional areas were not significantly different with or without rostral protrusion of the tongue.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tying the tongue rostrally out of a horse's mouth did not influence the position of the hyoid apparatus or dimensions of the nasopharynx or oropharynx in anesthetized horses. Currently, no data suggest that application of a tongue-tie is effective for maintaining stability and patency of the nasopharyngeal or orolaryngeal airways in horses during races. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1865–1869)