The arthroscopic and ultrasonographic boundaries of the equine femorotibial joints




Reasons for performing study: While descriptions of the visible soft tissues of the femorotibial joints exist for both arthroscopy and ultrasonography, there are few examples in the literature that discuss in detail the combined findings of these modalities.

Objectives: To further elucidate the ultrasonographic and arthroscopic boundaries of the normal equine femorotibial joints and improve the understanding of the benefits and limitations of each individual modality.

Methods: Simultaneous arthroscopy and ultrasonography were performed in 10 equine cadaver stifles as well as bilateral stifles on a horse that underwent nonrecovery surgery. The arthroscopic probe was visualised ultrasonographically and concurrent video and still images acquired.

Results: Arthroscopy provided good visualisation of the cranial meniscal ligaments, the distal portion of the cranial cruciate ligament, proximal portion of the medial collateral ligament within the fibrous tissue of the joint capsule and a limited view of the abaxial border of meniscus. Ultrasonography allowed for almost complete visualisation of the menisci, collateral ligaments and cranial meniscal ligaments and a portion of the cranial cruciate ligament.

Conclusions: By comparing the ultrasonographically and arthroscopically visible structures, this study allowed for a more complete understanding of the advantages and limitations of each modality. The ability of ultrasonography to resolve mild pathological changes should be further explored.

Potential relevance: When used together, these modalities can provide a more global image of the femorotibial joints.