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, 29 (4), 461-469

In Vivo Assessment of Spinal Cord Elasticity Using Shear Wave Ultrasound in Dogs

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In Vivo Assessment of Spinal Cord Elasticity Using Shear Wave Ultrasound in Dogs

Amro Al-Habib et al. J Neurosurg Spine.

Abstract

Objective: Evaluation of living tissue elasticity has wide applications in disease characterization and prognosis prediction. Few previous ex vivo attempts have been made to characterize spinal cord elasticity (SCE). Recently, tissue elasticity assessment has been clinically feasible using ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE). The current study aims to characterize SCE in healthy dogs, in vivo, utilizing SWE, and to address SCE changes during compression.

Methods: Ten Greyhound dogs (mean age 14 months; mean weight 14.3 kg) were anesthetized and tracheally intubated, with hemodynamic and neurological monitoring. A 3-level, midcervical laminectomy was performed. SCE was assessed at baseline. Next, 8- and 13-mm balloon compressions were sequentially applied ventral to the spinal cord.

Results: The mean SCE was 18.5 ± 7 kPa. Elasticity of the central canal, pia mater, and dura mater were 21.7 ± 9.6 kPa, 26.1 ± 14.8 kPa, and 63.2 ± 11.5 kPa, respectively. As expected, the spinal cord demonstrated less elasticity than the dura mater (p < 0.0001) and pia mater (trend toward significance p = 0.08). Notably, the 13-mm balloon compression resulted in a stiffer spinal cord than at baseline (233 ± 73 kPa versus 18.5 ± 7 kPa, p < 0.0001) and 8-mm balloon compression (233 ± 73 kPa versus 185 ± 68 kPa, p < 0.048).

Conclusions: In vivo SCE evaluation using SWE is feasible and comparable to earlier reports, as demonstrated by physical sectioning of the spinal cord. The compressed spinal cord is stiffer than a free spinal cord, with a linear increase in SCE with increasing mechanical compression. Knowledge of the biomechanical properties of the spinal cord including SCE has potential implications for disease management and prognosis.

Keywords: MAP = mean arterial blood pressure; MEP = motor evoked potential; MRE = MR elastography; ROI = region of interest; SCE = spinal cord elasticity; SWE = shear wave elastography; USE = ultrasound elastography; shear wave elastography; spinal cord compression; ultrasound.

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