Strain imaging of the lateral collateral ligament using high frequency and conventional ultrasound imaging: An ex-vivo comparison.

K. Gijsbertse, A. Sprengers, H. Naghibi Beidokhti, M. Nillesen, C. de Korte and N. Verdonschot




Recent first attempts of in situ ultrasound strain imaging in collateral ligaments encountered a number of challenges and illustrated a clear need for additional studies and more thorough validation of the available strain imaging methods. Therefore, in this study we experimentally validated ultrasound strain measurements of ex vivo human lateral collateral ligaments in an axial loading condition. Moreover, the use of high frequency ultrasound (>20 MHz) for strain measurement was explored and its performance compared to conventional ultrasound. The ligaments were stretched up to 5% strain and ultrasound measurements were compared to surface strain measurements from optical digital image correlation (DIC) techniques. The results show good correlations between ultrasound based and DIC based strain measures with R values of 0.71 and 0.93 for high frequency and conventional ultrasound, subsequently. The performance of conventional ultrasound was significantly higher compared to high frequency ultrasound strain imaging, as the high frequency based method seemed more prone to errors. This study demonstrates that ultrasound strain imaging is feasible in ex vivo lateral collateral ligaments, which are relatively small structures. Additional studies should be designed for a more informed assessment of optimal in vivo strain measurements in collateral knee ligaments.