Correspondence of high-frequency ultrasound and histomorphometry of healing rabbit Achilles tendon tissue

Connect Tissue Res. 2014 Apr;55(2):123-31. doi: 10.3109/03008207.2013.870162. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Objectives: Static and dynamic high-frequency ultrasound of healing rabbit Achilles tendons were set in relationship to histomorphometric analyses at three and six weeks post-surgery.

Materials and methods: Twelve New Zealand White rabbits received a clean-cut Achilles tendon laceration (the medial and lateral Musculus gastrocnemius) and were repaired with a four-strand Becker suture. Six rabbits got additionally a tight polyester urethane tube at the repair site in order to vary the adhesion extent. Tendons were analysed by static and dynamic ultrasound (control: healthy contralateral legs). The ultrasound outcome was corresponded to the tendon shape, tenocyte and tenoblast density, tenocyte and tenoblast nuclei width, collagen fibre orientation and adhesion extent.

Results: The spindle-like morphology of healing tendons (ultrasound) was confirmed by the swollen epitenon (histology). Prediction of adhesion formation by dynamic ultrasound assessment was confirmed by histology (contact region to surrounding tissue). Hyperechogenic areas corresponded to acellular zones with aligned fibres and hypoechogenic zones to not yet oriented fibres and to cell-rich areas.

Conclusions: These findings add new in-depth structural knowledge to the established non-invasive analytical tool, ultrasound.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon* / injuries
  • Achilles Tendon* / metabolism
  • Achilles Tendon* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Rabbits
  • Regeneration*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*


  • Collagen