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Microvasculature of the suspensory ligament of the forelimb of horses

Williams, Megan R., Arnoczky, Steven P., Pease, Anthony P., Stick, John A.
American journal of veterinary research 2013 v.74 no.12 pp. 1481-1486
adults, blood, cannulas, forelimbs, horses, lameness, ligaments
Objective—To determine the microvascular anatomy of the suspensory ligament of the forelimb of horses. Sample—17 cadaveric forelimbs from 9 adult horses with no known history of forelimb lameness. Procedures—The median artery of the forelimb was cannulated proximal to the antebrachiocarpal joint and injected with contrast medium for CT evaluation of the gross vasculature (n = 2) or India ink to evaluate the microvasculature (12). Routine histologic evaluation was performed on an additional 3 forelimbs to confirm the microvascular anatomy. Results—The vascular supply of the suspensory ligament of the forelimb originated from branches of the medial and lateral palmar and palmar metacarpal vessels as well as the proximal and distal deep palmar arches. An abundant, longitudinally oriented microvascular supply was evident throughout the length of the suspensory ligament without distinct variation among the proximal, midbody, and distal regions. The intraligamentous blood supply originated from a periligamentous vascular plexus that surrounded the suspensory ligament throughout its length. Histologic findings indicated the presence of a periligamentous connective tissue plexus, which contained vessels that penetrated and anastomosed with an extensive network of intraligamentous vessels throughout the length of the suspensory ligament. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The suspensory ligament of the equine forelimb had an abundant intraligamentous microvascular supply throughout its entire length. The absence of an obvious hypovascular area suggested that regional variations in healing rates of the suspensory ligament are not associated with the microvascular anatomy.