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Ultrasound Tissue Characterization


S. Plevin


The Practitioner, the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners’ equine-exclusive journal. Issue 3 2020: 20-25.

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Overstrain injuries to the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) are amongst the most common musculoskeletal injuries for all athletic equine disciplines but account for a significant amount of wastage in the Thoroughbred (TB) racehorse.1 Treatment options are numerous and varied, but all have a couple of things in common: time out of training, expense, and no guarantee of success. It makes sense then, that prevention of injury should always be the goal. Failing that, a method to optimally guide rehabilitation is needed. Unfortunately, limitations of current imaging diagnostics have restricted their use for accurately monitoring the tendon. However, a new ultrasound technology, called ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC), may get us one step closer to achieving the goals of injury prevention and optimal rehabilitation.

Conclusion: Although, human research is currently ongoing to confirm this, equine research is needed to determine the specifics of any predictive capabilities the technology may have. For now, however, the evidence suggests that ultrasound tissue characterization can reliably and accurately be used to help guide rehabilitation of injured tendons, in both humans and horses, with the potential for a more successful return from injury.

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