Quantification of muscle volume by echography: comparison with MRI data on subjects in long-term bed rest

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2009 Jul;35(7):1092-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2009.01.004. Epub 2009 Apr 25.


The objective of this study was to determine the accuracy of an echographic method for measuring the change in leg muscle volume against the gold standard, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Leg muscle volume was measured using an echographic scanner, which consisted of two metallic rails on which a probe holder moved via an electric engine. Ten to 20 transverse muscle views were collected along the area scanned, and the muscle cross-sectional area (CSA, cm2) was measured on each of them. The integration of all the CSAs along the scanned area provided the muscle volume (cm3). Echographic results were compared with MRI data on 24 subjects undergoing 60 d of bed rest (8 control "Con," 8 with exercise countermeasures "Ex" and 8 with nutrition countermeasures "Nut"). The vastus intermedius (VI) and the vastus medialis (VM) volumes decreased significantly and similarly in both Con and Nut (VI, -17%; VM, -21%; p < 0.02). In the Ex group, the VI and VM did not change significantly. The correlation coefficient between the muscle volume change measured with the echographic and MRI methods was 0.78. The present study confirms that the echographic scanner is sufficiently accurate for assessing muscle volume changes and detects the effect of exercise countermeasures on muscle volume during long-term bed rest.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bed Rest / adverse effects*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leg / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography