Comparisons Between Staphylectomy and Tie-Forward Procedures in Combination with a Sternothyroideus Myotenectomy for the Treatment of Intermittent Dorsal Displacement of the Soft Palate: An Observational Study

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To compare the performance of horses with intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate (IDDSP) treated surgically with a control group and to determine whether there was a difference in postoperative performance between horses treated with a staphylectomy or a tie-forward procedure.

Study Design:

A retrospective observational study.


Swedish Warmblood trotting horses (Standardbreds) with endoscopically confirmed IDDSP (n=56) and control horses (n=48) with endoscopically normal upper airways tested using overground endoscopy identified from medical records.


Generalized estimating equations that accounted for repeated measurements were used to compare presurgery and postsurgery racing performance (speed, m/s) of IDDSP horses, and to compare their performance to control horses. Similarly, the effects of surgical procedure type on whether horses returned to racing, postsurgical speed, career race starts and earnings were evaluated.


There was no significant difference in race speed between IDDSP and control horses at any time point. The percentage of horses racing postoperatively, the number of career races, and career earnings did not differ between staphylectomy treated and tie-forward treated horses, nor between IDDSP and control horses.


In our study there was no difference in the postoperative outcomes between the two surgical techniques used to treat definitively diagnosed IDDSP. These results find no strong evidence to promote use of one technique over another in the treatment of this condition.

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