Differences in the morphology of distal border synovial invaginations of the distal sesamoid bone in the horse as evaluated by computed tomography compared with radiography

S. Claerhoudt, H. J. Bergman, H. Van Der Veen, L. Duchateau, E. V. Raes and J. H. SAUNDERS
November 2012
Equine Veterinary Journal


Reasons for performing study: Distal border synovial invaginations of the distal sesamoid bone are radiographically assessed during the selection process of horses admitted as breeding stallions or in purchase examinations. Nowadays, many moderately or some deeply penetrating proximally enlarged synovial invaginations are considered as moderate or severe radiographic findings.

Objective: To measure the difference between and agreement of the morphology of distal border synovial invaginations on radiography vs. computed tomography (CT). It was hypothesised that the morphology of distal border synovial invaginations would be better evaluable on CT compared with radiography.

Methods: Computed tomography scans and 3 dorsoproximal–palmarodistal oblique (DPr-PaDiO) radiographs were obtained on 50 cadaver forefeet from 25 Warmblood horses. Computed tomography was assumed to be the gold standard. The number, shape and depth of penetration of distal border synovial invaginations into the distal sesamoid bone were evaluated with both methods, and the comparison of their measurements was statistically described.

Results: A statistically significant mean difference for number of distal synovial invaginations between CT and all 3 DPr-PaDiO projections was found and was approximately equal to 2, meaning that CT permits visualisation of an average of 2 more invaginations than radiography. In none of the cases did radiography have a higher number observed than CT. A large variation in the difference of measurements for depth of penetration against their mean difference between CT and the 3 radiographic projections was seen. Radiography underestimated the depth of invaginations, and more so when these were deeper. There was no statistically significant mean difference found between the techniques for depth. A moderate to good agreement between measurements on CT and the three DPr-PaDiO projections for shape was seen, in which the D55°Pr-PaDiO projection showed the best agreement. A high specificity (90–99%) and low sensitivity (65%) for all projections for shape were found.

Conclusions and potential relevance: Radiography differs considerably from CT concerning the morphology of distal navicular border synovial invaginations. For the evaluation of the number, depth and shape of distal synovial invaginations in the distal sesamoid bone, radiography shows only partially the morphology seen on CT.