Tissue compliance meter for objective, quantitative documentation of soft tissue consistency and pathology

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1987 Feb;68(2):122-5.


A new instrument is described, the tissue compliance meter (TCM), for quantitative and objective recording of soft tissue consistency. This quality is appreciated at present only by the subjective method of palpation. Use of the TCM therefore offers a method to quantify palpation of tissue consistency and to document findings objectively. The handheld instrument allows immediate and simple reading of the depth of penetration of a rubber disc at a known pressure. The relation between the achieved penetration and employed pressure expresses the compliance. The TCM consists of a rubber disc with the surface of 1 cm2 attached to a force gauge. The depth of penetration of the rubber tip is indicated by a disc which slides on the shaft of the force gauge. Normal values were established for men and women over muscles which are frequently affected by spasm. Tissue compliance measurement can document changes in soft tissue consistency which occur in muscle spasm, spasticity, swelling, tumors, lumps, hematomas, etc. Use of the TCM provides the most sensitive and earliest objective indication of either healing and resolution in soft tissue pathology or occurrence of complications. Changes in muscle tone such as reduction of spasm, tension, or spasticity can be recorded. The effects of different types of physical therapy can thus be documented objectively.

MeSH terms

  • Connective Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology*
  • Palpation
  • Physical Examination / instrumentation*
  • Reference Values