Acoustoelastography (AE) is an ultrasound-based method developed to analyze the mechanical properties of tendons and ligaments, in this case the patellar tendon. Currently, the principle of elastography is already being used to measure the “hardness” of soft tissue lesions in order to differentiate tumor from normal tissue. However, this new application is not being used for the musculoskeletal system, whereby tendons, muscles, and ligaments that exhibit characteristic mechanical changes during injury or chronic degenerative states could be assessed using a cost effective and safe imaging modality. It is hypothesized that acoustoelastography is able to measure these mechanical changes to differentiate disease-specific tissue states of tendons, ligaments, or patellar tendon. The AE method involves only a post processing analysis of grey scale images acquired during a conventional ultrasound exam. Therefore, information obtained from AE analysis is in addition to the grey scale images obtained during the conventional ultrasound exam. However, AE analysis does not require additional scanning time for the patient. Conventional ultrasound is well known for its biosafety profile of non-ionizing radiation, accessibility, and cost saving. AE, similar to how Doppler can add information to conventional grey scale images in detecting blood flow, adds mechanical information to the conventional ultrasound exam.
March 2017 to December 2020
This project led by: John Wilson, MD