Title: A Method to Quantify Biomechanical Behaviour in Soft TIssues
Computational and in vitro studies of softs tissues provide insight into functional behavior and demonstrate the intrinsic value of mechanical metrics. Methodological limitations, however, make in vivo data more challenging to gather and hence, rarely used clinically. Acoustoelastic (AE) analysis of ultrasound data has shown promise for providing in vivo mechanical data. AE studies analyze the changing ultrasound echoes in a loaded tissue and compute tissue stiffness from the AE equations. Using tendons as an example, this seminar will discuss how this concept can be implemented with standard ultrasound systems to characterize local tissue pathologies and mechanical compromise. Results provide localized tissue stress, strain, and stiffness from ultrasound echo intensities. We demonstrate our method on tendinopathy regions in human Achilles tendons and other examples under current investigation. Comparative local stiffnesses (normal versus tendinopathic) indicate the degree of mechanical compromise in the pathological region. Within limits of resolution and modeling assumptions, these data can quantify structural compromise and monitor functional healing in pathological tendons.