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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 162-168

The correlation of quantitative ultrasound measures and supraspinatus tendon quality: A pilot study

1 Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
3 Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Richard E Debski
408 Center for Bioengineering, 300 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JMU.JMU_104_19

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Background: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of assessing tendon quality as quantified by histology through changes in quantitative ultrasound measures. Methods: Eight cadaveric shoulders (four with a small supraspinatus tendon tear) were examined using conventional B-mode ultrasound in the transverse plane by internally rotating and hyperextending the humerus. Quantitative ultrasound measures (skewness, kurtosis, variance, and echogenicity) were calculated based on the grayscale distribution of the ultrasound image taken of the supraspinatus tendon near the insertion site. The specimens were then dissected to the supraspinatus tendon where tendon biopsies were taken near the insertion site, mid-substance, and myotendinous junction. Through histology, tendon quality was evaluated based on collagen fiber organization, fatty infiltration, nuclei shape, and cellularity. Correlations between quantitative ultrasound measures and histological grades of tendon quality were determined through Pearson or Spearman's rho correlations. Results: A total of three significant correlations between quantitative ultrasound measures and histological parameters of tendon quality were found. Significant correlations between kurtosis and cellularity at the insertion site (r = 0.724) (P < 0.05) as well as variance and fatty infiltration at the myotendinous junction (ρ = −0.843) (P < 0.05) and for the whole tendon (ρ = −0.826) (P < 0.05) were found. Conclusion: The results show the potential for quantitative ultrasound measures to assess factors of tendon quality that can only be determined through histology. With further development of the methodology that utilizes quantitative ultrasound measures, clinicians might be able to evaluate the tendon quality noninvasively in future.

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