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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2013 Feb;39(2):360-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.09.005. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Imaging two-dimensional mechanical waves of skeletal muscle contraction.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering-R&D, Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Skeletal muscle contraction is related to rapid mechanical shortening and thickening. Recently, specialized ultrasound systems have been applied to demonstrate and quantify transient tissue velocities and one-dimensional (1-D) propagation of mechanical waves during muscle contraction. Such waves could potentially provide novel information on musculoskeletal characteristics, function and disorders. In this work, we demonstrate two-dimensional (2-D) mechanical wave imaging following the skeletal muscle contraction. B-mode image acquisition during multiple consecutive electrostimulations, speckle-tracking and a time-stamp sorting protocol were used to obtain 1.4 kHz frame rate 2-D tissue velocity imaging of the biceps brachii muscle contraction. The results present novel information on tissue velocity profiles and mechanical wave propagation. In particular, counter-propagating compressional and shear waves in the longitudinal direction were observed in the contracting tissue (speed 2.8-4.4 m/s) and a compressional wave in the transverse direction of the non-contracting muscle tissue (1.2-1.9 m/s). In conclusion, analysing transient 2-D tissue velocity allows simultaneous assessment of both active and passive muscle tissue properties.

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