Ultrasound shear wave elastography is becoming a valuable tool for measuring mechanical properties of individual muscles. Since ultrasound shear wave elastography measures shear modulus along the principal axis of the probe (i.e., along the transverse axis of the imaging plane), the measured shear modulus most accurately represents the mechanical property of the muscle along the fascicle direction when the probe's principal axis is parallel to the fascicle direction in the plane of the ultrasound image. However, it is unclear how the measured shear modulus is affected by the probe angle relative to the fascicle direction in the same plane. The purpose of the present study was therefore to examine whether the angle between the principal axis of the probe and the fascicle direction in the same plane affects the measured shear modulus. Shear modulus in seven specially-designed tissuemimicking phantoms, and in eleven human in-vivo biceps brachii and medial gastrocnemius were determined by using ultrasound shear wave elastography. The probe was positioned parallel or 20° obliquely to the fascicle across the B-mode images. The reproducibility of shear modulus measurements was high for both parallel and oblique conditions. Although there was a significant effect of the probe angle relative to the fascicle on the shear modulus in human experiment, the magnitude was negligibly small. These findings indicate that the ultrasound shear wave elastography is a valid tool for evaluating the mechanical property of pennate muscles along the fascicle direction.
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