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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2010 May;36(5):789-801. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.02.013.

Viscoelastic and anisotropic mechanical properties of in vivo muscle tissue assessed by supersonic shear imaging.

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Institut Langevin, Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique, CNRS UMR 7587, ESPCI ParisTech, INSERM ERL U979, Université Paris VII, Paris, France.


The in vivo assessment of the biomechanical properties of the skeletal muscle is a complex issue because the muscle is an anisotropic, viscoelastic and dynamic medium. In this article, these mechanical properties are characterized for the brachialis muscle in vivo using a noninvasive ultrasound-based technique. This supersonic shear imaging technique combines an ultra-fast ultrasonic system and the remote generation of transient mechanical forces into tissue via the radiation force of focused ultrasonic beams. Such an ultrasonic radiation force is induced deep within the muscle by a conventional ultrasonic probe and the resulting shear waves are then imaged with the same probe (5 MHz) at an ultra-fast framerate (up to 5000 frames/s). Local tissue velocity maps are obtained with a conventional speckle tracking technique and provide a full movie of the shear wave propagation through the entire muscle. Shear wave group velocities are then estimated using a time of flight algorithm. This approach provides a complete set of quantitative and in vivo parameters describing the muscle's mechanical properties as a function of active voluntary contraction as well as passive extension of healthy volunteers. Anisotropic properties are also estimated by tilting the probe head with respects to the main muscular fibers direction. Finally, the dispersion of the shear waves is studied for these different configurations and shear modulus and shear viscosity are quantitatively assessed assuming the viscoelastic Voigt's model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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