Jurkoshek AM, da Costa RC, Martin-Vaquero P.
Computed tomography (CT) scans can be acquired with the transverse images aligned either parallel to the endplates or perpendicular to the vertebral canal. The purpose of this prospective cross-sectional study was to determine the effect of angle acquisition on CT morphometric evaluation of the cervical vertebral column of Great Danes with and without cervical spondylomyelopathy. Twenty-eight Great Danes (13 normal, 15 affected) were sampled. For each dog, a set of CT images was acquired with the transverse slices aligned parallel to the endplates and another one with the transverse images aligned perpendicular to the vertebral canal. For each different set, transverse slices from the cranial, middle, and caudal aspects of the individual vertebral bodies C2-C7 were measured. Height, width, transverse area, right dorsal to left ventral height (RDLV), and left dorsal to right ventral height (LDRV) were recorded by a single observer at each location. For both affected and control dogs, significant differences between the measurements obtained from the two sets of transverse images were found only at the cranial aspect of the vertebrae (P = 0.005, P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P = 0.005, and P = 0.010 for height, width, area, RDLV, and LDRV, respectively). Measurements for the middle and caudal aspects did not differ. The funnel-shape morphology of the cervical vertebral foramina in Great Danes with stenosis of their cranial aspect may be responsible for the significant differences found. Considering that the morphometric parameters were significantly affected by CT slice angle in the current study, authors recommend that a standardized scanning protocol be followed when morphometric evaluations using CT are planned.