Comparison of computed tomography, tangential view radiography, and conventional radiography in evaluation of canine pelvic trauma

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Crawford JT, Manley PA, Adams WM.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2003;44:619-628.

Thirteen dogs with fractures requiring surgical repair were evaluated by standard two-view (i.e., lateral and ventrodorsal) radiography, tangential view (ventro 20 degrees cranial-dorsocaudal [inlet] and ventro 20 degrees caudal-dorsocranial [outlet]) radiography, and computed tomography (CT). Radiographic and CT examinations were reviewed independently by the three authors, and specific anatomic sites were graded for the presence or possibility of lesions. The results of radiographic interpretations were compared to CT scan interpretations. Eighty-one percent of skeletal lesions detected by CT scans were diagnosed definitively radiographically. Differences between the interpretation of CT and radiographic examinations included abnormalities associated with soft-tissue structures (P < 0.0001), the sacroiliac joints (P = 0.02), and the acetabula (P = 0.04). Interpretation of the lateral/ventrodorsal and inlet/outlet radiographic series were not statistically different, although inlet views may be complimentary to the standard radiographic examination. Its use deserves further study. Reader variation was less on evaluation of CT examinations than radiographic examinations. CT multiplaner reformations and three-dimensional reconstructions were useful for surgical planning in seven dogs. CT scanning is superior to survey radiography in assessing skeletal and soft-tissue injuries in dogs with pelvic trauma, although all clinically significant surgical lesions were described accurately radiographically. Based on this small series, the routine CT examination of dogs with pelvic trauma may not be justifiable for diagnosis but may be advantageous for surgical planning, especially if acetabular fractures are suspected on radiographs.