Tendon Strain Measurements With Dynamic Ultrasound Images: Evaluation of Digital Image Correlation
Strain is an essential metric in tissue mechanics. Strains and strain distributions during functional loads can help identify damaged and pathologic regions as well as quantify functional compromise. Noninvasive strain measurement in vivo is difficult to perform. The goal of this in vitro study is to determine the efficacy of digital image correlation (DIC) methods to measure strain in B-mode ultrasound images. The Achilles tendons of eight male Wistar rats were removed and mechanically cycled between 0 and 1% strain. Three cine video images were captured for each specimen: (1) optical video for manual tracking of optical markers; (2) optical video for DIC tracking of optical surface markers; and (3) ultrasound video for DIC tracking of image texture within the tissue. All three imaging modalities were similarly able to measure tendon strain during cyclic testing. Manual/ImageJ-based strain values linearly correlated with DIC (optical marker)-based strain values for all eight tendons with a slope of 0.970. DIC (optical marker)-based strain values linearly correlated with DIC (ultrasound texture)-based strain values for all eight tendons with a slope of 1.003. Strain measurement using DIC was as accurate as manual image tracking methods, and DIC tracking was equally accurate when tracking ultrasound texture as when tracking optical markers. This study supports the use of DIC to calculate strains directly from the texture present in standard B-mode ultrasound images and supports the use of DIC for in vivo strain measurement using ultrasound images without additional markers, either artificially placed (for optical tracking) or anatomically in view (i.e., bony landmarks and/or muscle-tendon junctions).
Get notified about updates to this publicationFollow publication
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary science based on the application of engineering approaches to biologic tissue formation. Engineered tissue internal organization represents a key aspect to increase biofunctionality before transplant and, as regarding skeletal muscles, the potential of generating contractile forces is dependent on the internal fiber organization and is reflected by some macroscopic parameters, such as the spontaneous contraction. Here we propose the application of digital image correlation (DIC) as an independent tool for an accurate and noninvasive measurement of engineered muscle tissue spontaneous contraction. To validate the proposed technique we referred to the X-MET, a promising 3-dimensional model of skeletal muscle. The images acquired through a high speed camera were correlated with a custom-made algorithm and the longitudinal strain predictions were employed for measuring the spontaneous contraction. The spontaneous contraction reference values were obtained by studying the force response. The relative error between the spontaneous contraction frequencies computed in both ways was always lower than 0.15%. In conclusion, the use of a DIC based system allows for an accurate and noninvasive measurement of biological tissues’ spontaneous contraction, in addition to the measurement of tissue strain field on any desired region of interest during electrical stimulation.
- "To monitor engineered muscle tissue growth we recently proposed  the application of Digital Image Correlation (DIC) in combination with standard force measurement. DIC is a versatile methodology deriving from industrial and civil engineering [9, 10] that presents several advantages also for applications with biological tissues , such as the absence of contact with the specimen, the possibility to use the natural texture as the correlation pattern, and the opportunity to measure strains on a specific region of interest (ROI). The use of this technique allowed pinpointing the tissue nonhomogeneous zones, returning useful information for improving the tissue generation process. "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper offers an overview of the potentialities and limitations of digital image correlation (DIC) as a technique for measuring displacements and strain in biomechanical applications. This review is mainly intended for biomechanists who are not yet familiar with DIC. This review includes over 150 papers and covers different dimensional scales, from the microscopic level (tissue level) up to macroscopic one (organ level). As DIC involves a high degree of computation, and of operator-dependent decisions, reliability of displacement and strain measurements by means of DIC cannot be taken for granted. Methodological problems and existing solutions are summarized and compared, whilst open issues are addressed. Topics addressed include: preparation methods for the speckle pattern on different tissues; software settings; systematic and random error associated with DIC measurement. Applications to hard and soft tissues at different dimensional scales are described and analyzed in terms of strengths and limitations. The potentialities and limitations of DIC are highlighted, also in comparison with other experimental techniques (strain gauges, other optical techniques, digital volume correlation) and numerical methods (finite element analysis), where synergies and complementarities are discussed. In order to provide an overview accessible to different scientists working in the field of biomechanics, this paper intentionally does not report details of the algorithms and codes used in the different studies.
- "DIC was applied to ultrasound breast images to identify cancerous tissue, based on its deformation and stiffness (Han et al. 2012). DIC with ultrasound images has also been used to measure in vivo deformation in tendons (Okotie et al. 2012) and lower limb muscles (Affagard et al. 2014). "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Determining the mechanical behaviour of tendon and ligamentous tissue remains challenging, as it is anisotropic, non-linear and inhomogeneous in nature. Methods In this study, three-dimensional (3D) digital image correlation (DIC) was adopted to examine the strain distribution in the human Achilles tendon. Therefore, 6 fresh frozen human Achilles tendon specimens were mounted in a custom made rig for uni-axial loading. 3D DIC measurements of each loading position were obtained and compared to 2 linear variable differential transformers (LVDT’s). Results 3D DIC was able to calculate tendon strain in every region of all obtained images. The scatter was found to be low in all specimens and comparable to that obtained in steel applications. The accuracy of the 3D DIC measurement was higher in the centre of the specimen where scatter values around 0.03% strain were obtained. The overall scatter remained below 0.3% in all specimens. The spatial resolution of 3D DIC on human tendon tissue was found to be 0.1 mm2. The correlation coefficient between the 3D DIC measurements and the LVDT measurements showed an excellent linear agreement in all specimens (R2 = 0.99). Apart from the longitudinal strain component, an important transverse strain component was revealed in all specimens. The strain distribution of both components was of a strongly inhomogeneous nature, both within the same specimen and amongst different specimens. Conclusion DIC proved to be a very accurate and reproducible tool for 3D strain analysis in human tendon tissue.
- "As ultrasound is frequently used to image musculoskeletal tissue, this technique allows in vivo strain measurement. Several authors showed an excellent correlation between classic 2D DIC measurements and 2D ultrasound elastography [19,20,32]. "