In vivo quantification of 3D displacement in sacral soft tissues under compression: Relevance of 2D US-based measurements for pressure ulcer risk assessment
OBJECTIVE: 2D Ultrasound (US) imaging has been recently investigated as a more accessible alternative to 3D Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the estimation of soft issue motion under external mechanical loading. In the context of pressure ulcer prevention, the aim of this pilot MRI study was to design an experiment to characterize the sacral soft tissue motion under a controlled mechanical loading. Such an experiment targeted the estimation of the discrepancy between tissue motion assessed using a 2D imaging modality (echography) versus tissue motion assessed using a (reference) 3D imaging modality (MRI). METHODS: One healthy male volunteer participated in the study. An MRI-compatible custom-made setup was designed and used to load the top region of the sacrum with a 3D-printed copy of the US transducer. Five MR images were collected, one in the unloaded and four in the different loaded configurations (400-1200 [g]). Then, a 3D displacement field for each loading configuration was extracted based on the results of digital volume correlation. Tissue motion was separated into the X, Y, Z directions of the MRI coordinate system and the ratios between the out-of-plane and in-plane components were assessed for each voxel of the selected region of interest. RESULTS: Ratios between the out-of-plane and in-plane displacement components were higher than 0.6 for more than half of the voxels in the region of interest for all load cases and higher than 1 for at least quarter of the voxels when loads of 400-800 [g] were used. CONCLUSION: The out-of-ultrasound-plane tissue displacement was not negligible, therefore 2D US imaging should be used with caution for the evaluation of the tissue motion in the sacrum region. The 3D US modality should be further investigated for this application.
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