Ex vivo cadaveric study of a laterally placed Leipzig stifle distractor for arthroscopic evaluation of the lateral meniscus in dogs

Vet Surg. 2018 Nov 8. [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate safety and accuracy of lateral pin placement for the use of a Leipzig stifle distractor (LSD) and to assess improvements in visualization and treatment of the lateral meniscus in the canine stifle.

STUDY DESIGN: Ex vivo cadaveric study.

SAMPLE POPULATION: Paired canine cadaveric hind limbs (n = 10).

METHODS: Pins for the LSD were placed from lateral to medial in the distal femur and proximal tibia. Safety and accuracy of lateral pin placement were evaluated via anatomical dissection, computed tomography (CT), and arthroscopy. In every case, distraction of the lateral compartment of the femorotibial joint space was evaluated arthroscopically, and the meniscus was probed. Afterward, the limbs were assigned to 1 of 2 groups, and a partial meniscectomy was attempted with or without distraction. Stifles were disarticulated to evaluate the meniscectomy and iatrogenic cartilage damage.

RESULTS: Computed tomography revealed some variation in pin placement, although sufficient distraction was achieved for all stifle joints. No damage to the surrounding structures was observed during anatomical dissection, CT, or arthroscopy. Disarticulation provided evidence that using an LSD allowed for complete caudal horn meniscectomies and less articular cartilage damage than when meniscectomy was attempted with manual distraction.

CONCLUSION: Lateral placement of an LSD proved to be safe and effective for the distraction of the lateral femorotibial joint space and the examination and treatment of the lateral meniscus in dogs weighing 18-42 kg.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Canine lateral meniscus pathology, although rare, leads to severe pain. A laterally placed LSD improves arthroscopic evaluation and treatment of this pathology.