Investigation of soft-tissue stiffness alteration in denervated human tissue using an ultrasound indentation svstem

Mohsen Makhsous*, Ganapriya Venkatasubramanian, Aditya Chawla, Yagna Pathak, Michael Priebe, William Z. Rymer, Fang Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background/Objective: Differences in soft-tissue stiffness may provide for a quantitative assessment and detection technique for pressure ulcers or deep-tissue injury. An ultrasound indentation system may provide a relatively convenient, simple, and noninvasive method for quantitative measurement of changes in soft-tissue stiffness in vivo. Methods: The Tissue Ultrasound Palpation System (TUPS) was used to quantitatively measure changes in soft-tissue stiffness at different anatomical locations within and between able-bodied persons and individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). The stiffness of soft tissue was measured at the ischial tuberosity, greater trochanter, posterior midthigh, and biceps brachii. Additionally, soft-tissue thickness and soft-tissue deformation were also measured. Results: Significant differences in soft-tissue stiffness were observed within the various anatomical locations tested, in both the able-bodied and SCI groups. Differences in soft-tissue stiffness were also observed between the 2 groups. Participants with SCI had significantly softer tissue in their buttock-thigh area. Conclusions: TUPS is a clinically feasible technology that can reliably and effectively detect changes in soft-tissue stiffness. The study has provided a better understanding of the tissue mechanical response to external loading, specifically in the SCI population, suggesting the use of tissue stiffness as a parameter to detect and assess pressure-related soft-tissue injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Deep-tissue injury
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Soft-tissue stiffness
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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