Reference Values for Shear Wave Elastography of Neck and Shoulder Muscles in Healthy Individuals

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Purpose: to establish reference values for ultrasound shear-wave elastography for pericranial muscles in healthy individuals (m. trapezius, m. splenius capitis, m. semispinalis capitis, m. sternocleidomastoideus and m. masseter). Also to evaluate day-to-day variations in the shear-wave speeds and evaluate the effect of the pennation of the muscle fibers, ie scanning parallel or perpendicularly to the fibers.

Materials and Methods: 10 healthy individuals (5 males and 5 females) had their pericranial muscles examined with shear-wave elastography in two orthogonal planes on two different days for their dominant and non-dominant side. Mean shear wave speeds from 5 ROI's in each muscle, for each scan plane for the dominant and non-dominant side for the two days were calculated. The effect of the different parameters - muscle pennation, gender, dominant vs non-dominant side and day was evaluated.

Results: The effect of scan plane in relation to muscle pennation was statistically significant (p<0.0001). The mean shear-wave speed when scanning parallel to the muscle fibers was significantly higher than the mean shear-wave speed when scanning perpendicularly to the fibers. The day-to-day variation was statistically significant (p=0.0258), but not clinically relevant. Shear-wave speeds differed significantly between muscles. Mean shear wave speeds (m/s) for the muscles in the parallel plane were: for masseter 2.45 (SD:+/-0.25), semispinal 3.36 (SD:+/-0.75), splenius 3.04 (SD:+/-0.65), sternocleidomastoid 2.75 (SD:+/-0.23), trapezius 3.20 (SD:+/-0.27) and trapezius lateral 3.87 (SD:+/-3.87).

Conclusion: The shear wave speed variation depended on the direction of scanning. Shear wave elastography may be a method to evaluate muscle stiffness in patients suffering from chronic neck pain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound International Open
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)E23-E29
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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