The aim of the present study was to measure in vivo skeletal muscle elasticity in the transverse and longitudinal planes using shear wave elastography and then to compare the image stability, measurement values and measurement repeatability between these imaging planes. Thirty-one healthy males participated in this study. Tissue elasticity (shear wave velocity) of the medial gastrocnemius, rectus femoris, biceps brachii and rectus abdominis was measured in both the transverse and longitudinal planes using shear wave elastography. Image stability was evaluated by the standard deviation of the colour distribution in the shear wave elastography image. Measurement repeatability was assessed by the coefficient of variance obtained from three measurement values. Image stability of all tested muscles was significantly higher in the longitudinal plane (P<0·001), but measurement repeatability did not differ significantly between the imaging planes (P>0·05), except in the biceps brachii (P = 0·001). Measurement values of the medial gastrocnemius, rectus femoris and biceps brachii were significantly different between the imaging planes (P<0·001). Image stability and measurement values of shear wave elastography images varied with imaging plane, which indicates that imaging plane should be considered when measuring skeletal muscle tissue elasticity by shear wave elastography.
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