Effects of Muscle Action Type on Corticospinal Excitability and Triceps Surae Muscle-Tendon Mechanics.
PURPOSE We investigated the feasibility of using real-time sonography to measure muscle thickness. Clinically, this technique would be used to measure the thickness of human muscles in which intramuscular microstimulators have been implanted to treat or prevent disuse atrophy. METHODS Porcine muscles were implanted with microstimulators and imaged with sonography, MRI, and CT to assess image artifacts created by the microstimulators and to design protocols for image alignment between methods. Sonography and MRI were then used to image the deltoid and supraspinatus muscles of 6 healthy human subjects. RESULTS Microstimulators could be imaged with all 3 methods, producing only small imaging artifacts. Muscle-thickness measurements agreed well between methods, particularly when external markers were used to precisely align the imaging planes. The correlation coefficients for sonographic and MRI measurements were 0.96 for the supraspinatus and 0.97 for the deltoid muscle. Repeated sonographic measurements had a low coefficient of variation: 2.3% for the supraspinatus and 3.1% for the deltoid muscle. CONCLUSIONS Real-time sonography is a relatively simple and inexpensive method of accurately measuring muscle thickness as long as the operator adheres to a strict imaging protocol and avoids excessive pressure with the transducer.