Use of a custom-made limb-press model to assess intra- and extracapsular techniques for treating cranial cruciate ligament rupture in cats

Kneifel W, Borak D, Bockstahler B, Schnabl-Feichter E. J Feline Med Surg. 2017 Apr 1

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to compare the under-and-over technique, a type of intracapsular treatment, and the standard fabella-tibial suture, a method for extracapsular treatment, in achieving immediate, postoperative stifle stability after cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) rupture by using a feline, custom-made limb-press model.

METHODS: Cadaveric feline hindlimb specimens (n = 14) were positioned in the limb press at predefined joint angles (stifle joint: 120°; hock joint: 120°), and vertical loads of 5%, 10%, 20% and 30% body weight were applied statically. Mediolateral radiographic views were obtained of the stifles under each load before and after CrCL transection, as well as after treatment with either of the two surgical techniques, and differences in distance between two predefined radiographic points for each radiograph were analysed.

RESULTS: The general linear model showed a significant effect of load ( P <0.01) and technique ( P = 0.004) and a significant interaction between load and technique ( P = 0.006) regarding craniocaudal stifle stability. Distances between predefined tibial and femoral reference points were consistently higher in transected CrCLs than in intact stifles. All standard fabella-tibial suture-treated stifles (n = 7) were stable at all loads tested. Of the seven under-and-over technique-treated stifles, one was unstable at 20% body weight load and three at 30% body weight load.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Our model, which appropriately reproduced certain aspects of domestic shorthair cat stifle mechanics, indicated that a 40 lb monofilament nylon prosthesis, tightened at 20 N, produces more favourable biomechanical stabilisation of craniocaudal cruciate-related stifle instability than a 0.5 cm wide strip of fascia lata applied intracapsularly.