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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2004 Sep;30(9):1173-83.

Tissue displacements during acupuncture using ultrasound elastography techniques.

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1
Department of Neurology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA. Helene.langevin@uvm.edu

Abstract

Acupuncture needle manipulation has been previously shown to result in measurable changes in connective tissue architecture in animal experiments. In this study, we used a novel in vivo ultrasound (US)-based technique to quantify tissue displacement during acupuncture manipulation in humans. B-scan ultrasonic imaging was performed on the thighs of 12 human subjects at different stages of needle motion, including varying amounts of rotation, downward and upward movement performed with a computer-controlled acupuncture needling instrument. Tissue displacements, estimated using cross-correlation techniques, provided successful mapping and quantitative analysis of spatial and temporal tissue behavior during acupuncture needle manipulation. Increasing amounts of rotation had a significant linear effect on tissue displacement during downward and upward needle motion, as well as on rebound tissue displacement after downward needle movement. In addition to being a valuable tool for studies of acupuncture's mechanism of action, this technique may have applications to other types of needling including biopsies.

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