Use of MRI images to measure tissue thickness over the ischial tuberosity at different hip flexion

Mohsen Makhsous*, Fang Lin, Andrew Cichowski, Iris Cheng, Charles Fasanati, Thomas Grant, Ronald W. Hendrix

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The goal of this experiment was to investigate changes in the thickness of the soft tissue overlying the ischial tuberosity (IT) due to changes in hip flexion angle and the addition of a sitting load. Eleven healthy subjects were tested. An apparatus constructed from foam blocks and an air bladder was used to position the subjects in different postures within an MRI tube. MRI images of the buttocks and thigh were obtained for four postures: Supine, 458 Hip Flexion, Non-Weight-Bearing 90° Hip-Flexion, and Weight-Bearing 90° Hip-Flexion. The thickness of muscle, adipose tissue, and skin was measured between the IT tip and skin surface, perpendicular to the cushion placed beneath the thighs. The tissue overlying the IT was found to be significantly (P < 0.001) thinner in 90° Hip-Flexion (73.8 ± 9.0 mm) than in the supine position (135.9 ± 8.1 mm). Muscle thickness decreased significantly from Supine to Non-Weight-Bearing 90° Hip-Flexion (59.1 ± 8.5%, P < 0.001), and further decreased from Non-Weight-Bearing to Weight-Bearing 90° Hip-Flexion (46.2 ± 7.9%, P < 0.001). Under Weight-Bearing 90° Hip-Flexion, the muscle tissue deformed significantly (P < 0.001) more than the adipose tissue and skin. We concluded that the tissue thickness covering the IT significantly decreased with hip flexion, and further decreased by nearly half during loading caused by sitting. In addition, the muscle tissue experienced the largest deformation during sitting. The results of this study may improve our understanding of risk factors for pressure ulcer development due to changes in tissue padding over the IT in different postures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-645
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Buttock
  • Gluteus maximus
  • In vivo
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Seated posture
  • Sitting pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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