Volumetric measurements of paranasal sinuses and examination of sinonasal communication in healthy Shetland ponies: anatomical and morphometric characteristics using computed tomography.BMC Vet Res. 2021 Jan 21; 17(1):41.BV
Despite clinical importance and frequent occurrence of sinus disease, little is known about the size of paranasal sinuses and their communication in ponies and small horses. To examine the shape and volume of the paranasal sinuses and evaluate the sinonasal communication, three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of computed tomography (CT) datasets of 12 healthy adult Shetland ponies were performed and analysed. Linear measurements of head length and width were taken. Using semi-automatic segmentation, 3D-models of all sinus compartments were created. Volumetric measurement of the seven sinus compartments were conducted and statistical analysis was performed. Sinus volumes were compared between the left and right sinuses and the relation to age and head size was evaluated.
Structure and shape of the paranasal sinus system in Shetland ponies was similar to that of large horses. All seven sinus compartments on each side of the head were identified (rostral maxillary sinus, ventral conchal sinus, caudal maxillary sinus, dorsal conchal sinus, middle conchal sinus, frontal sinus, sphenopalatine sinus). The existence of a bilateral cranial and a caudal system formed by a maxillary septum was visible in all 12 individuals. The volumetric sizes of the left and right sinuses did not differ significantly (p > 0.05). A positive correlation between the size of the paranasal sinuses and the head length was shown. A relation between sinus volumes and age could not be proved in adult ponies aged > six years. Communication between single sinus compartments was identified. Furthermore, communication with the nasal cavity over the nasomaxillary aperture (Apertura nasomaxillaris) and a common sinonasal channel (Canalis sinunasalis communis) as well as its splitting up into a rostral and a caudolateral channel could be seen. Examination of the sinonasal communication was challenging and only a descriptive evaluation was possible.
Our findings concerning the size, shape and volumetric dimensions of Shetland pony CT images could help improve CT interpretation of abnormal clinical cases as well as aiding clinicians to develop and select appropriate instruments for medical inspection and treatments.