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J Vet Sci. 2009 Sep;10(3):225-32.

Effect of multi-planar CT image reformatting on surgeon diagnostic performance for localizing thoracolumbar disc extrusions in dogs.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Accurate pre-operative localization and removal of disc material are important for minimizing morbidity in dogs with thoracolumbar disc extrusions. Computed tomography (CT) is an established technique for localizing disc extrusions in dogs, however the effect of multi-planar reformatting (MPR) on surgeon diagnostic performance has not been previously described. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of MPR CT on surgeon diagnostic accuracy, certainty and agreement for localizing thoracolumbar disc extrusions in dogs. Two veterinary surgeons and one veterinary neurologist who were unaware of surgical findings independently reviewed randomized sets of two-dimensional (2D) and MPR CT images from 111 dogs with confirmed thoracolumbar disc extrusions. For each set of images, readers recorded their localizations for extruded disc material and their diagnostic certainty. For MPR images, readers also recorded views they considered most helpful. Diagnostic accuracy estimates, mean diagnostic certainty scores and inter-observer agreement were compared using surgery as the gold standard. Frequencies were compared for MPR views rated most helpful. Diagnostic accuracy estimates were significantly greater for MPR vs. 2D CT images in one reader. Mean diagnostic certainty scores were significantly greater for MPR images in two readers. The change in agreement between 2D and MPR images differed from zero for all analyses (site, side, number affected) among all three readers. Multi-planar views rated most helpful with the highest frequency were oblique transverse and curved dorsal planar MPR views. Findings from this study indicate that multi-planar CT can improve surgeon diagnostic performance for localizing canine thoracolumbar disc extrusions.

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