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Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 2;8(1):16268. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34213-0.

Measurement of mean subcutaneous fat thickness: eight standardised ultrasound sites compared to 216 randomly selected sites.

Author information

1
Medical University of Graz, Institute of Biophysics, Graz, Austria.
2
Medical University of Graz, Institute of Biophysics, Graz, Austria. wolfram.mueller@medunigraz.at.
3
Medical University of Graz, Institute of Pathophysiology and Immunology, Graz, Austria.

Abstract

Ultrasound (US) provides the most accurate technique for thickness measurements of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) layers. This US method was recently standardised using eight sites to capture SAT patterning and allows distinguishing between fat and embedded fibrous structures. These eight sites chosen for fat patterning studies do not represent the mean SAT thickness measured all over the body that is necessary for determining subcutaneous fat mass. This was obtained by SAT measurements at 216 sites distributed randomly all over the body. Ten participants with BMI below 28.5kgm-2 and SAT means (from eight sites) ranging from 3 mm to 10 mm were selected. The means from eight sites overestimated the means obtained from 216 sites (i.e. 2160 US measurements in the ten participants); the calibration factor of 0.65 corrects this; standard deviation (SD) was 0.05, i.e. 8%. The SD of the calibration factor transforms linearly when estimating the error range of the whole body's SAT volume (body surface area times the calibrated mean SAT thickness). The SAT masses ranged from 3.2 to 12.4 kg in this group. The standard deviations resulting from solely the calibration factor uncertainty were ±0.3 and ±1.0 kg, respectively. For these examples, the SAT percentages were 4.9(±0.4)% and 13.3(±1.0)%.

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