Medical Ultrasound Imaging Centre, Department of Radiology, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Described here is an ultrasound technique used to study tongue movements, particularly lateral tongue movements, during mastication. A method to analyze spatial and temporal tongue movements was developed, and the feasibility of using this method was evaluated. Biplane ultrasound images of tongue movements of four adults without oral motor disability and two adults with oral motor disability as a result of cerebral palsy, were acquired. Tongue movements were analyzed in the coronal and sagittal planes using B-mode and M-mode ultrasonography. Inter-rater and intra-rater agreement for manual tracing of tongue contours was good (ICC = 0.81 and 0.84, respectively). There were significant differences between the two adult groups in movement frequency in the horizontal direction in both coronal and sagittal planes. In the coronal plane, differences in movement frequency and range of vertical movement were detected. Data obtained from sagittal images, with the exception of vertical frequency, indicated no differences between the groups. The protocol developed in this study (using B-mode and M-mode) proved to be valid and reliable. By using this protocol with individuals with and without oral motor disability, we were able to illustrate the clinical application of our protocol to evaluation of differences in tongue movements during mastication.