Objectives: Preclinical studies using large animal models play an intergral part in translational research. For this study, our objectives were: to develop and validate arthroscopic approaches to four compartments of the stifle joint as determined via the gross and arthroscopic anatomy of the cranial and caudal aspects of the joint. Methods: Cadaveric hindlimbs (n = 39) were harvested from mature ewes. The anatomy was examined by tissue dissection (n = 6), transverse sections (n = 4), and computed tomography (n = 4). The joint was arthroscopically explored in 25 hindlimbs. Results: A cranio-medial portal was created medial to the patellar ligament. The cranio-lateral portal was made medial to the extensor digitorum longus tendon. The medial femoral condyle was visible, as well as the cranial cruciate ligament, caudal cruciate ligament and both menisci with the intermeniscal ligament. Valgus stress improved visibility of the caudal horn of the medial meniscus and tibial plateau. To explore the caudal compartments, a portal was created 1 cm proximal to the most caudal aspect of the tibial condyle. Both femoral condyles, menisci, caudal cruciate ligament, the popliteal tendon and the menisco-femoral ligament were visible. The common peroneal nerve and popliteal artery and vein are vulnerable structures to injury during arthroscopy. Clinical significance: The arthroscopic approach developed in this research is ideal to evaluate the ovine stifle joint.
Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology (VCOT)