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Am J Vet Res. 1994 Dec;55(12):1682-9.

Consideration of anatomic and radiographic features of the caudal pouches of the femorotibial joints of horses for the purpose of arthroscopy.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.


Development of an arthroscopic approach to the caudal pouches of the equine stifle has been necessary because cranial approaches do not allow access to articular lesions in the caudal aspect of the joint. Therefore, the anatomy of the caudal region was examined in 52 cadaver limbs by use of gross dissection (29), x-ray-computed tomography (6), fluoroscopy (8), or arthroscopy (9). Additionally, using arthroscopic techniques developed in equine cadaver limbs, 3 stifles from 2 anesthetized horses were arthroscopically explored. Fluoroscopy was used to verify needle placement for joint injection and filling patterns of each femorotibial joint. The medial femorotibial joint sac (n = 4) held a mean +/- SD 41.67 +/- 5.77 ml of injection fluid, and the lateral femorotibial joint sac (n = 4) held a mean 61.67 +/- 2.89 ml of injection fluid. Vital structures that inadvertently could be damaged during arthroscopy of the caudal pouches of the stifle included the peroneal nerve (located approx 7 cm caudal to the lateral collateral ligament), the popliteal artery and vein (situated directly between the medial and lateral femoral condyles), and the lateral femoral condyle (most often traumatized during arthroscopy). The tendon of the popliteus muscle, which is contiguous with the joint capsule of the caudal pouch of the lateral femorotibial joint, made arthroscopic exploration of this pouch particularly difficult.

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