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Ultrasound imaging for sarcopenia, spasticity and painful muscle syndromes

Özçakar, Leventa; Ata, Ayşe Merveb; Kaymak, Bayrama; Kara, Murata; Kumbhare, Dineshc

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2018 - Volume 12 - Issue 3 - p 373–381
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000354

Purpose of review On the basis of its various advantages and the relevant awareness of physicians, ultrasound imaging has overwhelmingly taken its place in the scientific arena. This is true both from the side of daily clinical applications and also from the side of research. Yet, ultrasound provides real-time (diagnostic) imaging and (interventional) guidance for a wide spectrum of muscle disorders. In this regard, this review aims to discuss the potential/actual utility of ultrasound imaging in particular muscle disorders, that is, sarcopenia, spasticity and fibromyalgia/myofascial pain syndrome.

Recent findings Due to the aging population worldwide and the importance of functionality in the older population, mounting interest has been given to the diagnosis and management of sarcopenia in the recent literature. Likewise, several articles started to report that ultrasound imaging can be used conveniently and effectively in the early diagnosis and quantification of sarcopenia.

For spasticity, aside from ultrasound-guided botulinum toxin injections, intriguing attention has been paid to sonographic evaluation of muscle architecture, echogenicity and elasticity in the follow-up of these chronic conditions.

As regards painful muscle syndromes, quantitative ultrasound techniques have been shown to detect statistically significant differences between healthy controls and patients with myofascial pain syndrome.

Summary Ultrasound imaging seems to be a promising tool that indisputably deserves further research in the management of a wide range of muscle disorders.

Video abstract

aDepartment of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Hacettepe University Medical School, Ankara

bDepartment of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Viranşehir State Hospital, Şanlıurfa, Turkey

cDivision of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Correspondence to Levent Özçakar, MD, Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastaneleri Zemin Kat FTR AD, Sıhhıye, Ankara, Turkey. Tel: +90 312 3094142; fax: +90 312 3105769; e-mail:

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