Visualizing tendon elasticity in an exvivo partial tear model

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Supersonic shear imaging (SSI) is evaluated as a means of visualizing changes in regional tendon elasticity caused by partial tears in a porcine model. Thirty digital flexor tendons were cut to 25% (n=10), 50% (n=10) and 75% (n=10) of the tendon thickness along the deep surface. Tendon elasticity was mapped left of, centered on and right of the tear site before and after tearing from 0% to 2% strain. Shear wave speed increased at 1% (p < 0.05) and 2% (p < 0.001) strain for all regions. Deep surface shear wave speed decreased in the 25%, 50% and 75% tears (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001). Computational tendon tear models were also created to investigate regional changes in strain resulting from a tear. In the computational models, strain on the deep surface decreased progressively with increasing tear size. Visualization of tendon shear wave speed was achieved in normal and partially torn tendons, indicating the potential of SSI to add tendon shear wave speed to traditional morphologic assessment of partial tears, which may improve assessment of tendon health. © 2014 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.

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Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology