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Keywords:

  • collateral ligaments;
  • desmopathy;
  • distal interphalangeal joint;
  • horse;
  • lameness

Desmopathy of the distal interphalangeal joint collateral ligament is a common cause of lameness in the horse and carries a variable prognosis for soundness. Intralesional treatment has been proposed for improving outcome; however, limited reports describe methods for injecting this ligament. The purpose of this study was to compare accuracy of low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) vs. radiography for injecting the collateral ligament of the distal interphalangeal joint. Equine cadaver digit pairs (n = 10) were divided by random assignment to injection of the ligament by either technique. An observer unaware of injection technique determined injection success based on postinjection MRI and/or gross sections acquired from the proximal, middle, and distal portions of the ligament. McNemar's test was performed to determine statistical difference between injection techniques, the number of injection attempts, and injection of the medial or lateral collateral ligament. Magnetic resonance imaging guided injection was successful more frequently than radiographic-guided injection based on postinjection MRI (24 of 30 vs. 9 of 30; P = 0.0006) and gross sections (26 of 30 vs. 13 of 30; P = 0.0008). At each level of the ligament (proximal, middle, and distal), MRI-guided injection resulted in more successful injections than radiographic guidance. Statistical significance occurred at the proximal aspect of the collateral ligament based on postinjection MRI (P = 0.0143) and the middle portion of the ligament based on gross sections (P = 0.0253). Findings supported future testing of standing, low-field MRI as a technique for delivering intralesional regenerative therapy in live horses with desmopathy of these collateral ligaments.