Effectiveness of nuchal ligament autograft in the healing of an experimental superficial digital flexor tendon defect in equid

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


This study aimed to investigatenuchal ligament (NL) autograft on experimental tendon defect healing in donkeys. Eight healthy donkeys were used. The left forelimb’s superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon was assigned as treatment, and the right forelimb was allocated as the control group (without surgical intervention). A 3×1.5 cm segment of the funicular part of the NL was excised. A full thickness defect created in the treatment tendon and was grafted with the excised NL. The following parameters were evaluated in 120 days postoperatively: clinical, ultrasonography, radiography, histopathology, biomechanical properties, and scanning and electronic transmission microscopy. There were no significant changes observed in the neck angle so that it was confirmed this treatment regimen preserved the head and neck situation without any considerable neck swelling. Weight-bearing in gait and trot was similar between both forelimbs at the end of the study. Mild to moderate adhesion was detected in the dorsal surface of the SDF tendon. There was no significant difference in the echogenicity and fiber alignment, respectively, on days 90 and 120 after surgery. Treatment significantly amplified the collagen diameter and enhanced the collagen fibril diameter and density considerably compared to the NL. The transplanted tissue was mostly in the remodeling or maturation phase, on day 120 postoperatively. It seems thatthe NL is biocompatible, almost biodegradable, and effective in tendon healing without metaplasia or tissue rejection.


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