Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of Subarticular Bone Marrow Lesions In Dogs With Stifle Lameness

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KEVIN R. WINEGARDNER PVS, URSULA KROTSCHECK, RORY J. TODHUNTER,.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2007;48:312-317.

A bone bruise is a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sign thought to signify acute traumatic microfracture of trabecular bone with hemorrhage and edema in the marrow that may occur without grossly visible disruption of the adjacent cortices or overlying cartilage. In approximately 75% of people with acute anterior-cruciate ligament tears, bone bruises are detected in characteristic locations within the femur and tibia and are best seen as high-signal lesions using fat-suppression sequences. We questioned whether this is a component of naturally acquired stifle lameness in dogs and obtained short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) images of six dogs with stifle lameness. High-signal STIR lesions were detected in five of six (83%) dogs and eight of 12 (67%) limbs. We observed these lesions deep to the intercondylar fossa of the femur and intercondylar eminence of the tibia, which are atypical locations in people. High-signal STIR lesions were detected in dogs with only synovitis, partial tear of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) and complete tear of the CCL. One of these lesions was seen in the lateral tibial condyle, a typical location in humans with acute anterior cruciate ligament tear. As the MR imaging appearance of stress fractures and bone bruises are similar, and the high-signal STIR lesions are at attachment sites of the CCL, this finding may be due to stress disease or other unknown causes, rather than bone bruising. High-signal STIR lesions may be a common sign in naturally acquired canine stifle disease, but the pathogenesis, prognostic and diagnostic values need further investigation.