Factors influencing the Shear Wave Elastography evaluation of the patellar tendon

Michael Andrei Pelea, Oana Serban, Maria Badarinza, Roxana Rosca, Daniela Fodor


Aim: There is no clear standardization for tendon Shear Wave Elastography (SWE), and data regarding the factors that influence the correctness of evaluation are scarce. We aimed to determine the intra- and interobserver agreement in patellar tendon SWE, and to establish the influence of various factors on elasticity values.

Materials and methods: We recruited 37 healthy volunteers; SWE of the patellar tendon was performed by two examiners. The following factors were analyzed: probe frequency, degree of joint flexion, size of region of interest (ROI), distance of the color box from the probe footprint, utilization of coupling gel as standoff, and the effect of physical exercise on elastic modulus values.

Results: Highest overall interobserver [k=0.767, 95%CI (0.717-0.799), p<0.001] and intraobserver agreement [k=0.920 (0.909-0.929) for examiner 1, k=0.891 (0.875-0.905) for examiner 2] was obtained with the knee in the neutral position, using the L18-5 probe. With the knee flexed at 30º and 45º, the elasticity values were higher compared to the neutral position (p<0.001). With the probe immersed in 0.25 and 0.50 cm coupling gel, the median values were lower compared to the probe placed on the skin (p=0.001, p=0.018). The ROI dimensions and the placement of the SWE box at the level of the skin or at 0.5 cm below skin did not significantly influence the elastic modulus. After physical exercise, the elasticity values decreased in the proximal and middle portion of the tendon (p=0.002, p<0.001).

Conclusion: The best results obtained in patellar tendon SWE were with the knee in neutral position, in the proximal or middle tendon, after 10 minutes of relaxation and with the probe placed directly on the skin with minimal pressure. The size and position of ROI do not significantly influence the examination.


Shear Wave Elastography; patellar tendon; influencing factors

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-4193


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