Magnetic resonance imaging of the palmar aspect of the equine podotrochlear apparatus: normal appearance

Busoni V, Snaps F, Trenteseaux J, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2004;45:198-204.

The purpose of this study was to describe the normal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging characteristics of the palmar structures of the equine podotrochlear apparatus by means of retrospective evaluation of MR imaging studies of 16 cadaver limbs. The articular aspect of the distal sesamoid bone was not evaluated in this study. Equine digits were imaged with a human knee radiofrequency coil in a 1.5 T magnetic field, using spin echo (SE) T1-weighted, turbo spin echo proton density (TSE PD)-weighted with and without fat saturation (FS), and FS TSE T2-weighted sequences. The limbs were dissected after imaging to validate the absence of gross abnormalities of the flexor aspect of the distal sesamoid bone, of the deep digital flexor tendon, and the distal impar sesamoidean ligament. Seven deep digital flexor tendons were subjected to histologic examination to exclude any microscopic tendon pathology. The anatomic structures of the podotrochlear apparatus were easily identified on MR images. Compact bone of the flexor cortex of the distal sesamoid bone had low intensity signal on all sequences. In 11 digits an increased signal was seen within the thickness of the sagittal eminence of the flexor cortex in SE T1-weighted images and in TSE PD-weighted images without FS. Trabecular bone had a granular appearance and high signal in SE T1-weighted sequences and TSE images without FS. The deep digital flexor tendon had low signal on FS T2-weighted images, while on short echo time sequences (T1- and PD-weighted sequences), the tendon signal varied depending on the relative orientation between its fibers and the static magnetic field. Seven tendons had stippled appearance due to small intratendonous foci of slightly increased signal on transverse T1-weighted images. MR imaging provides a thorough evaluation of the anatomical structure of the podotrochlear apparatus: A good knowledge of the MR imaging appearance and anatomy and an awareness of potential pitfalls will improve diagnostic specificity for the detection of pathologic changes.