Evaluation of a simple method for determining muscle volume in vivo

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The quantification in vivo of muscle volume is important, for example, to understand how muscles change with aging, and respond to rehabilitation. Albracht et al. (2008) suggested that muscle volume can be estimated in vivo from the measurement of muscle cross-sectional area and muscle belly length only. The purpose of this study was to evaluate this proposed relationship for determining muscle volume for both the Vastus Lateralis (VL) and First Dorsal Interosseous (FDI) using ultrasound imaging. The cross-sectional area and length of 22 cadaver FDI and 6 VL muscles in cadavers were imaged using ultrasound, these muscles were then dissected and muscle volumes measured directly using the water displacement technique. Estimated muscle volumes were compared with their direct measurement, and for the VL the percentage root mean square error in the estimation of muscle volume was 5.0%, and the Bland-Altman analysis had all volume estimates within the 95% confidence interval, with no evidence of bias (proportional or constant) in the volume estimates. In contrast, percentage root mean square error for the FDI was 18.8%, with the Bland-Altman analysis showing volume estimates outside of the 95% confidence interval and proportional bias. These results indicate that the simple method proposed by Albracht et al. (2008) for the estimation of muscle volume is appropriate the VL but not the FDI using ultrasound imaging. Morphological disparities likely account for these differences, if accurate and fast measures of the volume of the FDI are required other approaches should be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1973-1975
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 14 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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