Evaluation of a New Surgical Treatment for Equine Hind Limb Proximal Suspensory Desmitis. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of a new microfracture and ligament splitting procedure on ligament healing and to examine the usefulness of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for monitoring ligament healing over time using a collagenase model of hind limb proximal suspensory desmitis. STUDY DESIGN: Experimental in vivo study. ANIMALS: Healthy adult horses (n=6). METHODS: Horses were free of lameness with normal hind limb proximal suspensory ligaments (PSL). The origin of both hind limb PSL was injected with collagenase and underwent MR imaging 2 weeks later, followed by the microfracture and ligament splitting procedure on 1 limb, with the opposite limb serving as the sham-operated control. Serial lameness and MR examinations were performed. Horses were euthanatized 210 days after surgery, the PSL harvested, and histology, biochemistry, and gene expression performed on both PSL. RESULTS: Collagenase lesions viewed on MR images appeared similar to those seen clinically. Serial MR images demonstrated resolution of abnormal signal intensity and tissue formation in the microfracture sites within the third metatarsal bone. Treated limbs had histologic evidence of connective tissue appearing to originate from the small perforations and blending into the ligament but no statistical differences were identified. Gene expression for cartilage oligomeric matrix protein and decorin were significantly increased in treated compared to control limbs. CONCLUSION: The microfracture and ligament splitting procedure did incite a tissue response but further clinical investigation is necessary to determine if this tissue remodeling at the bone-ligament interface translates to improved clinical outcome. MR imaging may be useful to follow healing in horses with hind limb proximal suspensory desmitis.

published proceedings

  • Vet Surg

author list (cited authors)

  • Brokken, M. T., Schneider, R. K., Roberts, G. D., Holmes, S. P., Gavin, P. R., Sampson, S. N., Farnsworth, K. D., & Dahlgren, L. A.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Brokken, Matthew T||Schneider, Robert K||Roberts, Gregory D||Holmes, Shannon P||Gavin, Patrick R||Sampson, Sarah N||Farnsworth, Kelly D||Dahlgren, Linda A

publication date

  • October 2016