Substantiating the Use of Ultrasound Tissue Characterization in the Analysis of Tendon Structure: A Systematic Review

Maciel Rabello, L., Dams, O., Scheek, I., Zwerver, J. & O'Neill, S., 30-May-2019, In : Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 15 p.

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  • Substantiating the Use of Ultrasound Tissue

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the role of ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC) in predicting, diagnosing, and monitoring tendon structure and/or tendinopathy. In addition, this study aims to provide recommendations for standardized methodology of UTC administration and analysis.

DATA SOURCE: The PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases were searched (up to September 2018). All scientific literature concerning the use of UTC in assessing tendons was collected. The initial search resulted in a total of 1972 hits, and after screening by eligibility criteria, 27 articles were included.

RESULTS: In total, 18 investigating the Achilles tendon, 5 the patellar tendon, and 4 both Achilles and patellar tendons were included. The methods of UTC administration and analysis differed and were not uniform. The studies showed that the use of UTC to predict Achilles tendinopathy (AT) is inconclusive, but that a higher amount of tendon disorganization increases the risk of developing patellar tendinopathy (PT). In terms of diagnosis, UTC might provide additional information in AT cases. In addition, promising results were found for the use of UTC in both AT and PT in monitoring the effect of load or treatment on tendon structure.

CONCLUSION: More research regarding the use of UTC in predicting tendon pathology is required. Ultrasound tissue characterization seems useful as an adjunct diagnostic modality because it can be used to differentiate symptomatic from asymptomatic tendons. In addition, UTC is a promising device to be used to monitor changes in tendon structure in response to load or treatment. Moreover, we provide recommendations of a standardized protocol concerning the methods of UTC measurement and analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 30-May-2019


  • achilles tendinitis, achilles tendon, article, disorientation, Embase, human, human tissue, Medline, monitoring, patellar ligament, scientific literature, systematic review, tissue characterization, ultrasound, Web of Science

ID: 86470422