Assessing muscle architecture with ultrasound: implications for spasticity

Submitted: 4 March 2024
Accepted: 21 April 2024
Published: 30 May 2024
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Supplementary materials: 12
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Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A (BoNT-A) injections using Ultrasound (US) guidance have led to research evaluating changes in muscle architecture. Controversy remains as to what constitutes increased Echo-Intensity (EI) in spastic muscles and whether this may affect outcomes. We aim to provide a narrative review of US muscle architecture changes following Central Nervous System (CNS) lesions and explore their relationship to spasticity. Medline, CINAHL, and Embase databases were searched with keywords: ultrasonography, hypertonia, spasticity, fibrosis, and Heckmatt. Three physicians reviewed the results of the search to select relevant papers. Reviews identified in the search were used as a resource to identify additional studies. A total of 68 papers were included. Four themes were identified, including histopathological changes in spastic muscle, effects of BoNT-A on the muscle structure, available US modalities to assess the muscle, and utility of US assessment in clinical spasticity. Histopathological studies revealed atrophic and fibro-fatty changes after CNS lesions. Several papers described BoNT-A injections contributing to those modifications. These changes translated to increased EI. The exact significance of increased muscle EI remains unclear. The Modified Heckmatt Scale (MHS) is a validated tool for grading muscle EI in spasticity. The use of the US may be an important tool to assess muscle architecture changes in spasticity and improve spasticity management. Treatment algorithms may be developed based on the degree of EI. Further research is needed to determine the incidence and impact of these EI changes in spastic muscles.

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How to Cite

Boissonnault, Ève, Jeon, A., Munin, M. C., Filippetti, M., Picelli, A., Haldane, C., & Reebye, R. (2024). Assessing muscle architecture with ultrasound: implications for spasticity. European Journal of Translational Myology, 34(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2024.12397