Tendon injuries lead to tendon stiffness, which impairs skeletal muscle movement. Most studies have focused on patellar or Achilles tendons by using ultrasound elastography. Only a few studies have measured the stiffness of hand tendons because their thickness is only 1-2 mm, rendering clinical ultrasound elastography unsuitable for mapping hand tendon stiffness. In this study, a high-frequency ultrasound shear elastography (HFUSE) system was proposed to map the shear wave velocity (SWV) of hand flexor tendons. A handheld vibration system that was coaxially mounted with an external vibrator on a high-frequency ultrasound (HFUS) array transducer allowed the operators to scan hand tendons freely. To quantify the performance of HFUSE, six parameters were comprehensively measured from homogeneous, two-sided, and three-sided gelatin phantom experiments: bias, precision, lateral resolution, contrast, contrast-to-noise ratio, and accuracy. HFUSE demonstrated an excellent resolution of 147 μm to distinguish the local stiffness of thin phantom (thickness: 1.2 mm) without compromising bias, precision, contrast, contrast-to-noise ratio, and accuracy, which has been noted with previous systems. Human experiments involved four patients with hand tendon injuries who underwent ≥2 months of rehabilitation. Using HFUSE, two-dimensional SWV images of flexor tendons could be clearly mapped for healthy and injured tendons, respectively. The findings demonstrate that HFUSE can be a promising tool for evaluating the elastic properties of the injured hand tendon after surgery and during rehabilitation and thus help monitor progress.
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2021|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering