Diagnostic stifle joint arthroscopy using a needle arthroscope in standing horses

Authors: 
David D. Frisbie, Myra F. Barrett, C. Wayne McIlwraith and Jeff Ullmer
Volume: 
43
Number: 
1
Pages: 
12-18
Journal: 
Veterinary Surgery
Date: 
January 2014

Objective

To assess use of an 18 g arthroscope for diagnostic stifle joint examination in the standing horse.
Study Design

Phase 1 used cadaver limbs and simultaneous ultrasonographic assessment. Phase 2 used 6 normal horses where stifles were assessed in both a standing and flexed position. Phase 3 used horses with suspected stifle injury or disease.
Animals

Normal horses (n = 6) to assess ability to perform diagnostic procedure (phase 2) and 3 clinical cases (phase 3).
Methods

Five cadaver limbs were used in phase 1 to assess all stifle joints. Phase 2 used standing sedated and locally anesthetized horses. Routine arthroscopic approaches were used in both weight bearing and flexed nonweight bearing positions. In both phase 1 and 2 simultaneous ultrasonographic and arthroscopic examinations were used to confirm extent of diagnostic examination. The methods developed in phase 2 were used to examine the stifle in 3 horses with suspected stifle disease.
Results

In cadaveric limbs and horses, all intra articular structures that constitute a complete arthroscopic examination were identified; no intra -or postoperative morbidity occurred. In phase 3, the needle arthroscope was used in accurate identification of pathologic change and in 1 horse, an osteochondral fragment not detected by ultrasonography and radiography was identified.
Conclusions

This preliminary work indicates that an 18 g arthroscope can be used for diagnostic examination of the equine stifle in standing horses.