Intra- and inter-muscular differences in the cross-sectional area of the quadriceps muscles assessed by extended field-of-view ultrasonography

Chrysostomos Sahinis, Eleftherios Kellis, Nikiforos Galanis, Konstantinos Dafkou, Athanasios Ellinoudis


Aim: Τo examine the inter- and intra-muscular differences in the anatomical cross-sectional area (CSA) of the quadricep muscles, using extended - field of view (EFOV) ultrasonography (US).

Material and methods: Panoramic transverse US images of the thigh were acquired from 10 young participants at five different locations across the thigh, in two sessions, spaced a week apart. The CSA of the vastus medialis (VM), rectus femoris (RF), vastus intermedius (VI), vastus lateralis (VL) and tensor vastus intermedius (TVI) was quantified.

Results: The intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.75 to 0.97 and the standard error of measurement ranged from 0.78% to 6.61%, indicating high test-retest reliability. Analysis of the variance indicated that among the 5 quadriceps muscles the VL and the RF displayed the greater CSA proximally, the VI medially and the VM distally across the thigh (p <0.05). No differences in the quadriceps CSA measured with and without including the TVI were found (p >0.05).

Conclusions: The EFOV US technique provides transverse scans of the quadriceps muscle in vivo and allowed a reliable and non-invasive determination of CSA at a low cost. Evaluation of CSA along the thigh largely depends on the measurement site. Future studies that examine the quadriceps CSA using EFOV after any form of intervention should consider changes of at least 6.5% as meaningful.


ultrasound; extended - field of view; quadriceps; reliability

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