EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

A study from Colorado State Univer­sity sug­gests that it’s best to use a com­bi­na­tion of imag­ing tech­niques when di­ag­nos­ing sti­fle joint prob­lems.

The re­searchers re­viewed the records of 37 horses (47 sti­fles be­cause some horses had bi­lat­eral pain) ad­mit­ted to the univer­sity clinic for eval­u­a­tion of po­ten­tial sti­fle in­juries, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the re­sults of ul­tra­sono­graphic and arthro­scopic ex­am­i­na­tions.

They found that dam­age to the fi­brous “cup” on the in­side of the joint (me­dial menis­cal le­sions) was de­tected more of­ten with ul­tra­sonog­ra­phy, which uses high fre­quency sound waves to cre­ate im­ages of in­ter­nal body struc­tures, than with arthroscop­y, a min­i­mally in­va­sive sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that in­volves the in­ser­tion of a fiber op­tic tube and tiny video cam­era.

Bone spurs in the joint were also more likely to be de­tected via ul­tra­sound. And dam­age to the patel­lar lig­a­ments, which sta­bi­lize the en­tire joint, was only de­tected with ul­tra­sound.

On the other hand, arthroscop­y was bet­ter at iden­ti­fy­ing de­fects in the ar­tic­u­lar car­ti­lage as well as tears of the me­dial cra­nial menis­cotib­ial lig­a­ment, which at­taches the menisci to the bone.

The re­searchers con­clude that, given the strength and lim­i­ta­tions of each modal­ity, the best eval­u­a­tions of the sti­fle joint in­clude the use of both arthroscop­y and ul­tra­sound.


Equine Ve­teri­nary Jour­nal,

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