Measurement of the shear modulus in thin-layered tissues using numerical simulations and shear wave elastography

Seyedali Sadeghi, Daniel H. Cortes

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14 Scopus citations


Measurement of mechanical properties of thin-layered tissues has broad applications in the diagnosis of several pathologies. Ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE) measures the shear wave speed as a means of estimating the mechanical properties of tissues. However, the wave speed in thin-layered tissues is affected by their thickness and the properties of surrounding tissues. The objective of this study is to introduce a method that combines numerical simulations and SWE measurements to provide a more accurate calculation of shear modulus in layered tissues. In the proposed method, the spatial distribution of the acoustic radiation force (ARF) emitted by the transducer was first computed. The ARF was then used as input for simulating the guided wave propagation in the thin layer with its surroundings. The simulations were repeated for several values of the shear modulus of the layer to obtain the corresponding simulated wave speed. By comparing the measured and simulated wave speeds, a more accurate (corrected) shear modulus can be obtained. The proposed method was validated using experiments in agarose gels. In-vivo SWE measurements were also performed for the fascia of the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle and the aponeurosis of musculotendinous junction (MTJ) in medial gastrocnemius (MG) head in a group of healthy individuals. The simulated and measured wave speed in gel constructs were in good agreement with a maximum error of 7.22%. The average of measured wave speed of fascia and aponeurosis was 3.90 ± 0.16 m/s and 2.33 ± 0.60 m/s, while the corresponding corrected shear modulus was 95.63 ± 17.89 kPa and 6.36 ± 8.98 kPa, respectively. Thickness had a substantial effect on the wave speed in thin-layered tissues with decreasing speed for thinner tissues. The SWE-based simulation method presented in this study has the potential of enhancing clinical assessment for several musculoskeletal conditions involving thin-layered tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103502
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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