Repeatability of ultrasound in assessment of distal biceps brachii tendon

Rowan R. Smart, Cydney M. Richardson, Jennifer M. Jakobi


Objective: Examine the repeatability of ultrasound imaging for capturing cross sectional area (CSA), tendon length and elongation of the distal biceps brachii (dBB) tendon at rest and during submaximal elbow flexion contractions. The secondary purpose was to assess the influence of these architectural measures on tendon mechanics of stress and strain.

Methods: Within a testing session and between two days CSA, tendon length and elongation of the dBB were captured with ultrasound. Measures were compared within a session and between days. Pearson’s correlations were performed to determine the intra-class correlation coefficients. Bland and Altman plots were used to identify the agreement between measures as well as the bias in measurements. Paired T-test were performed to ensure the calculated variables did not differ between days. 

Results: Resting tendon CSA was repeatable and strongly correlated (r = 0.98) within a session and between days; however, modest differences were observed in resting tendon length between days (1.8 mm) although values were correlated (r = 0.98). During submaximal contractions of 10%-80% maximal tendon elongation (r = 0.83) and CSA (r = 0.98) were also repeatable. From the measures of elongation and CSA, the calculated values of tendon strain (r = 0.97) and stress (r = 0.96) were also repeatable.

Conclusions: Elongation and CSA of the dBB tendon captured with ultrasound are repeatable between testing sessions. From
these measures tendon mechanics can be calculated to define the tendon’s role in upper limb tasks, long-term adaptation and

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International Journal of Diagnostic Imaging

ISSN 2331-5857 (Print)  ISSN 2331-5865 (Online)

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