European Radiology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1213–1217 | Cite as

Lumbar annulus fibrosus biomechanical characterization in healthy children by ultrasound shear wave elastography

  • Claudio Vergari
  • Guillaume Dubois
  • Raphael Vialle
  • Jean-Luc Gennisson
  • Mickael Tanter
  • Jean Dubousset
  • Philippe Rouch
  • Wafa Skalli



Intervertebral disc (IVD) is key to spine biomechanics, and it is often involved in the cascade leading to spinal deformities such as idiopathic scoliosis, especially during the growth spurt. Recent progress in elastography techniques allows access to non-invasive measurement of cervical IVD in adults; the aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and reliability of shear wave elastography in healthy children lumbar IVD.


Elastography measurements were performed in 31 healthy children (6–17 years old), in the annulus fibrosus and in the transverse plane of L5–S1 or L4–L5 IVD. Reliability was determined by three experienced operators repeating measurements.


Average shear wave speed in IVD was 2.9 ± 0.5 m/s; no significant correlations were observed with sex, age or body morphology. Intra-operator repeatability was 5.0 % while inter-operator reproducibility was 6.2 %. Intraclass correlation coefficient was higher than 0.9 for each operator.


Feasibility and reliability of IVD shear wave elastography were demonstrated. The measurement protocol is compatible with clinical routine and the results show the method’s potential to give an insight into spine deformity progression and early detection.

Key Points

Intervertebral disc mechanical properties are key to spine biomechanics

Feasibility of shear wave elastography in children lumbar disc was assessed

Measurement was fast and reliable

Elastography could represent a novel biomarker for spine pathologies


Spine Spinal diseases Fibrocartilage Tissue elasticity imaging Pediatrics 



The scientific guarantor of this publication is Prof. Wafa Skalli, (Institut de Biomecanique Humaine Georges Charpak, Arts et Metiers ParisTech, 151 bd de l'Hopital 75013 Paris, France). The authors of this manuscript declare relationships with the following companies: Jean-Luc Gennisson is a scientific consultant for SuperSonic Imagine, and Mickael Tanter is cofounder and shareholder of SuperSonic Imagine (Aix-en-Provence, France). The other authors do not have any conflicting financial interests. This study has received funding by the ParisTech BiomecAM chair program on subject-specific musculoskeletal modelling for funding (with the support of ParisTech and Yves Cotrel Foundations, Société Générale, Proteor and Covea) and by the “Investissements d'Avenir” program. We would also like to thank Dr. Pauline Lallemant and Ms. Sonia Simoes for their technical help. One of the authors has significant statistical expertise. Institutional review board approval was obtained.

Written informed consent was obtained from both parents of all minor subjects (patients) in this study.

Some study subjects or cohorts have been previously reported in national congresses. Methodology: prospective, cross-sectional study, multicentre study.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arts et Metiers ParisTech, LBM/Institut de Biomecanique Humaine Georges CharpakParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric Orthopaedics, Armand Trousseau HospitalUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6ParisFrance
  3. 3.Institut Langevin, Ondes et ImagesESPCI ParisTechParisFrance

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