Analysis of echotexture of tendons with US

Radiology. 1993 Mar;186(3):839-43. doi: 10.1148/radiology.186.3.8430196.


To evaluate changes in echotexture of normal tendons at different frequencies and establish an anatomic correlation for fibrillar echoes, normal calcaneal tendons were examined in vitro at 7.5, 10, 13, and 15 MHz in calves (n = 8) and sheep (n = 6) and in vivo in humans (n = 8). Histologic correlation was obtained in vitro with 22-gauge needles that marked the position of echogenic fibrils under ultrasound (US) guidance. The human study group consisted of 25 patients with a clinical diagnosis of calcaneal tendon disease and 15 patients who underwent surgery for rupture of the Achilles tendon. At all four frequencies, normal tendons showed an internal network of fine parallel and linear fibrillar echoes that became more numerous and thinner as US frequency increased. These echoes were caused by specular reflections at the interface between collagen bundles and endotendineum septa. In patients, tendons showed a variety of basic changes in fibrillar pattern: increased fibrillar thickness (33 patients), interruption (17 patients), fragmentation (12 patients), and disappearance of echotexture (15 patients). It is concluded that US holds promise in detection of minimal changes in tendinous structure.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / diagnostic imaging
  • Achilles Tendon / injuries
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rupture
  • Sheep
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography