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Effects of Superior Check Desmotomy on Flexor Tendon and Suspensory Ligament Strain in Equine Cadaver Limbs

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To measure the effects of transection of the accessory ligament of the superficial digital flexor (SDF) muscle (superior check desmotomy) on flexor tendon and suspensory ligament (SL) strain in vitro. Study Design

In vitro experimental biomechanical investigation. Animals Used

Ten equine cadaver forelimbs. Methods

The effects of superior check desmotomy were determined using equine cadaver forelimbs secured in a servocontrolled hydraulic testing machine. Strain sensors were used to measure strain on the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons and SL, and a goniometer was used to measure joint angles when the limb was loaded at 890 N and 3,115 N before desmotomy, and at 3,115 N after desmotomy. Results

Superior check desmotomy was associated with significantly increased strains on the SDF tendon and SL, and significant alterations in the angles of the metacarpophalangeal and carpal joints. Conclusions

The superior check ligament has an important role in maintaining joint angles and load distribution in the forelimb. Lengthening of the SDF musculotendinous unit after superior check desmotomy may be associated with increased strain on the SL. Clinical Relevance

Transection of the accessory ligament of the SDF muscle may predispose horses to SL desmitis postoperatively.

©Copyright 2001 by The American College of Veterinary Surgeons
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the School of Veterinary Clinical Science, Murdoch University, Western Australia; and the Medical Physics Department, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia.

Publication date: 01 November 2001

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