The effect of ultrasound probe orientation on muscle architecture measurement

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2007 Aug;17(4):504-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.04.011. Epub 2006 Aug 21.


The purpose of this paper was to examine how muscle architecture parameter (MAP) measurements made using brightness-mode ultrasonography (BMU) differ based on probe orientation. The human tibialis anterior muscle was imaged from nine different probe orientations during concentric contractions at four joint angles to determine the effect of probe orientation on the measurement of muscle architecture parameters. Ankle dorsi-flexion torque, tibialis anterior electromyography (EMG), and measures of MAP including fascicle length (FL), pennation angle (PA) and muscle thickness (MT) were collected. Statistically significant differences were found between joint angles for measures of FL and PA and between probe orientations for measures of FL and MT. A comparison of actual MAP values to a geometric model used by researchers to determine an ideal probe orientation show that the actual values vary to a greater extent and do not follow the trend predicted by the model. The results suggest that ultrasound probe orientation affects measures of MAP but the effect either cannot be predicted from a geometric model and/or the error in the measurement technique does not allow a comparison.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Torque
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*
  • Ultrasonography / methods