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Magnetic Resonance Anatomy of the Carpus of the Horse Described from Images Acquired from Low-Field and High-Field Magnets

Nagy A. and Dyson S.U.E.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2011. 52(3): p.273-283.

Cadaver carpi of 30 mature horses with no history of carpal or proximal metacarpal pain were examined using low-field (0.27 T) and high-field (1.5 T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Normal MRI anatomy in transverse, sagittal, and dorsal plane images was determined by comparison with anatomical specimens and standard texts. Subchondral bone and cortical bone thickness measurements were obtained from standardised sites. There was variable subchondral bone thickness in the radius and carpal bones; subchondral bone thickness was consistently larger at dorsal compared with palmar sites in the proximal row of carpal bones. The endosteal surface of the subchondral bone was smooth. The shape of the ulnar carpal bone was variable and one or more small osseous fragments were identified palmar to the bone in 5/30 limbs. There was no evidence to suggest that these were pathological fractures or avulsions of the lateral palmar intercarpal ligament. The amount of muscle tissue in the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons in the proximal aspect of the carpus varied, but none was present at the level of the middle carpal joint and distally. Several structures could be evaluated that cannot be imaged using radiography, ultrasonography, or arthroscopy, including the transverse intercarpal ligaments, the radiocarpal ligament, the short palmar carpal ligaments, and the carpometacarpal ligaments. Anatomical variations not previously described were identified, including the layers of the medial aspect of the carpal fascia. Knowledge of the variation in MRI appearance of the carpus of nonlame horses is helpful for interpretation of MR images of lame horses.