Visualization of Human Hand Tendon Mechanical Anisotropy in 3-D Using High- Frequency Dual-Direction Shear Wave Imaging

Guo Xuan Xu, Pei Yu Chen, Chih Chung Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


High-resolution ultrasound shear wave elastography has been used to determine the mechanical properties of hand tendons. However, because of fiber orientation, tendons have anisotropic properties; this results in differences in shear wave velocity (SWV) between ultrasound scanning cross sections. Rotating transducers can be used to achieve full-angle scanning. However, this technique is inconvenient to implement in clinical settings. Therefore, in this study, high-frequency ultrasound (HFUS) dual-direction shear wave imaging (DDSWI) based on two external vibrators was used to create both transverse and longitudinal shear waves in the human flexor carpi radialis tendon. SWV maps from two directions were obtained using 40-MHz ultrafast imaging at the same scanning cross section. The anisotropic map was calculated pixel by pixel, and 3-D information was obtained using mechanical scanning. A standard phantom experiment was then conducted to verify the performance of the proposed HFUS DDSWI technique. Human studies were also conducted where volunteers assumed three hand postures: relaxed (Rel), full fist (FF), and tabletop (TT). The experimental results indicated that both the transverse and longitudinal SWVs increased due to tendon flexion. The transverse SWV surpassed the longitudinal SWV in all cases. The average anisotropic ratios for the Rel, FF, and TT hand postures were 1.78, 2.01, and 2.21, respectively. Both the transverse and the longitudinal SWVs were higher at the central region of the tendon than at the surrounding region. In conclusion, the proposed HFUS DDSWI technique is a high-resolution imaging technique capable of characterizing the anisotropic properties of tendons in clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1457-1469
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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