Use of reconstructed computed tomography for the assessment of joint spaces in the canine elbow

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Gemmill TJ, Hammond G, Mellor D, et al.

J Small Anim Pract 2006;47:66-74.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the accuracy of reconstructed computed tomography for imaging canine elbow joint spaces. METHODS: Computed tomography scans of eight cadaveric elbows were obtained and reconstructed computed tomography images were formatted in the dorsal and sagittal planes. Humeroradial and humeroulnar joint space measurements were obtained from these images. Intra-observer and inter-observer variations in joint space measurements were assessed, as was the effect of specimen positioning (inter-image variation). After freezing, four elbows were sectioned in the dorsal plane and four in the sagittal plane. In addition to visual comparison of the frozen sections with reconstructed computed tomography images, joint space measurements were obtained from frozen sections and compared with those from reconstructed computed tomography images. Variation was assessed using statistical calculations and graphical techniques. RESULTS: Both inter-image and intra-observer analyses revealed good agreement and low variation between data sets. Inter-observer correlation was only moderate, though variation was low. Visually, the reconstructed computed tomography images accurately reflected the frozen section anatomy. Agreement between frozen section and reconstructed computed tomography joint space measurements was good, with minimal variation. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: These results indicate that reconstructed computed tomography is capable of accurately imaging elbow joint spaces and precise joint space measurements can be obtained. Reconstructed computed tomography may be useful for determining joint space measurements and detecting elbow incongruencies in dogs with elbow dysplasia.