Medial patellar ligament splitting in horses with upward fixation of the patella: A long-term follow-up

Andersen C, Tnibar A. Equine Vet J. 2016 May; 48 (3): 312-4.

REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Medial patellar ligament splitting (MPLS) has been shown to be a highly effective and minimally invasive treatment for upward fixation of the patella (UFP) in horses. However, long-term follow-up results of this procedure have not previously been reported.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the long-term resolution of UFP following MPLS and provide information on complications and recurrence.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

METHODS: Data were collected from horses that underwent MPLS between 1999 and 2013. All cases had a confirmed diagnosis of UFP that had not responded to conservative therapy. Data were collected from medical records, including follow-up visits and through telephone conversations with the owner, trainer or referring veterinarian.

RESULTS: A total of 85 horses were included. Fifty-eight horses (68%) had surgery under general anaesthesia in dorsal recumbency, while 27 horses (32%) underwent standing surgery and 97.6% had complete resolution of the UFP immediately after surgery or within the 2 week rehabilitation period. Two cases (2.4%) had only unilateral resolution after bilateral surgery, even after the procedure was repeated. The majority of cases (90.5%) were followed up at least 3 and up to 14 years after surgery. No short- or long-term complications were reported. No recurrence of UFP was observed in the horses that resumed exercise after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Medial patellar ligament splitting is a highly effective and minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat UFP when conservative treatment is unsuccessful. In addition, it allows for a very rapid return to sports activity. No short- or long-term complications were observed and no recurrence of this condition was noted.