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March 2021

The Measurement of Stiffness for Major Muscles with Shear Wave Elastography and Myoton: A Quantitative Analysis Study

Authors: Youngjin Lee 1, Minkyoung Kim 1, 2, and Haneul Lee 3

Author information:

  1. Department of Radiology Science, Gachon University, Incheon 21936, Korea
  2. Department of Radiology, Kwanghye Hospital, Seoul 06174, Korea
  3. Department of Physical Therapy, Gachon University, Incheon 21936, Korea

Journal: Diagnostics - March 2021, Volume 11(3), 524 (DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics11030524)

The present study was performed to assess the relationship between hand-held myotonometer MyotonPRO and shear wave elastography (SWE) measurements of lower limb muscle stiffness during resting and active voluntary contraction. Forty healthy young adults, (20 males and 20 females) participated in the study. The stiffness of each subject’s rectus femoris (RF), biceps femoris (BF), tibialis anterior (TA), and medial gastrocnemius (MG) was measured repeatedly by MyotonPRO and SWE. Moderate to strong correlations between the two methods’ measurements were found for both resting and active voluntary contraction. (r = 0.416–0.669, p < 0.05; r = 0.398–0.594, p < 0.05, respectively). Muscle stiffness at rest was significantly lower compared contraction in all four muscles measured by both methods (p < 0.05). Intra-rater reliabilities were generally lower when measurements were taken during contraction. Additionally, when compared by gender, muscle stiffness measured by MyotonPRO was significantly higher at rest in men compared to women, except for the TA. However, a significant difference was found in TA muscle stiffness by gender when measured with SWE. When muscles were contracted, all muscles showed significantly higher stiffness in men compared to women. There were moderate to good correlations in muscle stiffness between measurements of SWE and MyotonPRO at rest and during active voluntary contraction. Additionally, both instruments showed good intra-rater reliability.

Keywords: muscle, myotonometer, quantitative analysis, ultrasound, shear-wave elastography

In summary, our results have shown a moderate to good correlation in muscle stiffness between measurements by SWE and MyotonPRO at rest and during active voluntary contraction. Additionally, both instruments showed good intra-rater reliability. This study could be a starting point for studies examining these variables in various populations with soft tissue or neuromuscular disorders.

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