In vivo measurements of biceps brachii and triceps brachii fascicle lengths using extended field-of-view ultrasound

Christa M. Nelson, Julius P.A. Dewald, Wendy M. Murray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Muscle fascicle lengths are commonly measured in vivo using static 2D ultrasound. However, static ultrasound is best suited for muscles with shorter, pennate fascicles, in which entire fascicles can be viewed in one static image. An informal review of data from cadaver dissections suggests that over 60% of muscles in the upper and lower limbs have optimal lengths longer than the field-of-view of standard ultrasound transducers. Extended field-of-view ultrasound (EFOV) has been validated for measurement of fascicle lengths, but has yet to be implemented in the upper extremity in humans. In this study, EFOV ultrasound was used to measure the lengths of fascicles sampled from the anterior portion of the biceps brachii (long head) and the distal half of the triceps brachii (lateral head). Data were collected from both limbs of eleven healthy subjects in three elbow postures under passive conditions. Image analysis was completed via Image J. Fascicle length measurements were highly reliable, with intra-class correlations ranging from .92 to .95 for biceps and .81-.92 for triceps (p<.001). Systematic, significant differences in measured lengths, consistent with muscle function, were observed between elbow positions. In vivo measurements for both muscles in this study were within the range of cadaver data. This work establishes the feasibility and reliability of EFOV ultrasound for measurement of the long fascicles of muscles in the upper limb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1948-1952
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 14 2016


  • Fascicle length
  • Muscle architecture
  • Ultrasonography
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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