Short-term effects of arthrotomy with and without infrapatellar fat pad resection on the normal canine stifle

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Objective:To investigate the short-term effects of infrapatellar fat pad (IFP) resection in normal dogs.Study design:Experimental in vivo study.Animals:Five normal adult female beagle dogs.Methods:The IFP was resected via arthrotomy in the left stifle joint (experimental side) while the right stifle underwent arthrotomy alone (sham side). An orthopedic examination was performed every week for 4 weeks and synovial fluid was analyzed before and 4 weeks after the procedure. The ratio of the length of the patellar ligament to the patellar length (L:P) was calculated on a lateral radiograph of the stifle before, 2 and 4 weeks after the procedure. Patellar depth (PD) and the contact area (CA) between the femur and patella were calculated from computed tomographic images taken at 3 different stifle angles (extended, flexed, hyperflexed) before, immediately after, and 4 weeks following the procedure. The dogs were euthanatized 4 weeks after the procedure for macroscopic and microscopic evaluation of the patellofemoral joint.Results:No difference was found between treatment groups throughout the study. No evidence of postoperative osteoarthritis was detected in any of the dogs. Orthopedic examinations, radiographs, and synovial fluid analyses remained within normal limits. Most PD, but not CA measurements, increased with time in both joints and at all stifle angles.Conclusions:Excision of the IFP subsequent to medial arthrotomy did not result in any measurable changes in the canine patellofemoral joint when compared with medial arthrotomy alone after 4 weeks of follow-up.

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