Original Contribution| Volume 49, ISSUE 6, P1408-1414, June 2023

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Quantitative Assessment of Tendon Backscatter Anisotropy in B-Mode Ultrasound

      To test the anisotropy of human tendons in conventional B-mode ultrasound, we prospectively performed ultrasound scans of 40 normal patella tendons and 24 patella tendons with chronic tendinopathy in adults. We scanned all tendons in longitudinal orientation (parallel to tendon fibers) using a linear array transducer (8.5 MHz) with beam steering at 0°, 5°, 10°, 15° and 20°. We used ImageJ histogram analysis to process B-mode images offline for assessing backscatter as a function of angle, known as backscatter anisotropy, between normal tendons and the subcutaneous tissues and between normal tendons and tendons with tendinopathy. We compared the results using the slopes of linear regression lines drawn through the angle-dependent data, and we concluded that the tissue anisotropy was significantly different if the 95% confidence intervals of the line slopes for different tissues did not overlap. We observed significant differences between normal tendons and both the adjacent subcutaneous tissues and tendons with tendinopathy. However, the difference in the regression slopes between tendons with tendinopathy and the adjacent subcutaneous soft tissues was not significant. It appears that changes in anisotropic backscatter could be used to detect tendon abnormalities and in assessing the significance of disease and the effectiveness of therapy.


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