Suspensory ligament size does not change after plantar fasciotomy and neurectomy of the deep branch of the lateral plantar nerve by ultrasonographic assessment. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To determine the short-term effect of plantar fasciotomy and neurectomy (PFN) of the deep branch of the lateral plantar nerve on the proximal suspensory ligament (PSL) cross-sectional area (CSA) in horses with hindlimb proximal suspensory desmopathy (PSD). STUDY DESIGN: Analytical, observational, cohort study. SAMPLE POPULATION: Twenty-one horses. METHODS: Records of horses with chronic PSD treated by PFN were included if a preoperative ultrasonographic examination was available and at least one postoperative ultrasonographic examination. One masked observer measured the ultrasonographic cross-sectional area (CSA) of the PSL. Intraobserver reliability was determined by repeatedly measuring a subset of ultrasonographic images (n=127). Two masked observers measured the cross-sectional area of the proximal suspensory ligament (PSL-CSA) on preoperative proton density (PD)-weighted transverse high field magnetic resonance images (n=19 horses) . Agreements for PSL-CSA between preoperative ultrasonographic and MRI measures and between the two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) observers were assessed. Follow up considered the horses' ability to return to exercise and their owners' satisfaction. RESULTS: The reliability of the ultrasonographic measurement of the PSL-CSA was excellent. Agreement between ultrasonographic assessment and MRI assessment of PSL-CSA was good. No difference was detected between preoperative (median, interquartile range; oblique-incidence, 2.07, 1.72-2.55; on-incidence, 2.23, 1.98-2.65) and postoperative (oblique-incidence, 2.08, 1.80-2.74; on-incidence, 2.28, 2.01-2.74) PSL-CSAs. At a median of 12months (4-33months), 16/20 (80%) owners reported the horse was "better" and 15/20 (75%) functioned at or above preoperative levels. CONCLUSION: Ultrasonographic measurement of the PSL-CSA was reproducible and in good agreement with MRI measurement. The PSL-CSA was not influenced by PFN. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The PSL-CSA cannot be used to guide return to function.

published proceedings

  • Vet Surg

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Scharf, A., de Solis, C. N., Sampson, S. N., Glass, K., & Watts, A. E.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Scharf, Alexandra||de Solis, Cristobal Navas||Sampson, Sarah N||Glass, Kati||Watts, Ashlee E

publication date

  • February 2022