Factors affecting width of the canine femorotibial joint space in nonweight-bearing radiographs

Whatmough, C and Moores, A P and Magalhaes, R S and Lamb, C R (2008) Factors affecting width of the canine femorotibial joint space in nonweight-bearing radiographs. VETERINARY RADIOLOGY & ULTRASOUND, 49 (2). pp. 129-134.

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Caudocranial stifle radiographs with variations in positioning were made in two greyhound cadavers. Radiographs were repeated after each of three interventions: cranial cruciate desmotomy; release of the caudal horn of the medial meniscus; complete medial meniscectomy. The joint space on medial and lateral aspects of the joint was measured by a observer who was unaware of positioning or intervention. One dog had significantly wider joint space than the other (1.0 vs. 1.5 mm). The lateral aspect of the joint space was wider than the medial aspect (1.7 vs. 0.7 mm). Medial rotation of the stifle resulted in an increase of 0.4 mm in width of the lateral joint space, whereas lateral rotation of the stifle reduced the lateral joint space by an average of 0.4 mm. Decentering the X-ray beam had no significant effect on joint space width. Tension increased the width of the medial joint space by an average of 1.2 mm and the lateral aspect by an average of 1.3 mm. Cranial cruciate desmotomy resulted in an average 0.3 mm increase in width of the joint space, and medial meniscectomy with an average 0.2 mm reduction of the joint space. Although the femorotibial joint space was affected by iatrogenic stifle injuries and by medial or lateral rotation, these changes were less than the differences between the two dogs. Hence it seems unlikely that the small changes in joint space width associated with cruciate ligament desmotomy and medial meniscectomy will be detectable in clinical practice.

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