Journal article Open Access

Using shear-wave elastography in skeletal muscle: A repeatability and reproducibility study on biceps femoris muscle

Nejc Šarabon; Žiga Kozinc; Nastja Podrekar

Shear-wave electrography (SWE) is a method used to assess tissue elasticity. Recently, it has been used to assess muscle stiffness, but the reliability of SWE for this purpose has not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the repeatability and reproducibility of SWE on porcine meat specimens and the human biceps femoris muscle. Measurements on meat specimens (n = 20) were performed by three raters and with a custom-built device that allowed constant application force. Measurements on human participants (n = 20) were performed by two raters in relaxed and stretched muscle positions on two visits. Most aspects of repeatability and reproducibility were good or high, with intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) values above 0.70. Minimal detectable changes were lower in a relaxed (6-10%) than stretched (15-16%) muscle position. In conclusion, SWE is a reliable tool for assessing muscle stiffness if the muscle is examined in relaxed condition, while changing the force applied with the probe for as little as 1.5 N results in significantly lower repeatability.

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