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Lower limb muscle volume estimation from maximum cross-sectional area and muscle length in cerebral palsy and typically developing individuals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Adam Shortland, Inti M. Vanmechelen, Jonathan J. Noble

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Early online date14 Nov 2017
Accepted/In press10 Nov 2017
E-pub ahead of print14 Nov 2017
PublishedJan 2018


King's Authors


Deficits in muscle volume may be a significant contributor to physical disability in young people with cerebral palsy. However, 3D measurements of muscle volume using MRI or 3D ultrasound may be difficult to make routinely in the clinic. We wished to establish whether accurate estimates of muscle volume could be made from a combination of anatomical cross-sectional area and length measurements in samples of typically developing young people and young people with bilateral cerebral palsy.

Lower limb MRI scans were obtained from the lower limbs of 21 individuals with cerebral palsy (14.7 ± 3 years, 17 male) and 23 typically developing individuals (16.8 ± 3.3 years, 16 male). The volume, length and anatomical cross-sectional area were estimated from six muscles of the left lower limb.

Analysis of Covariance demonstrated that the relationship between the length*cross-sectional area and volume was not significantly different depending on the subject group. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that the product of anatomical cross-sectional area and length bore a strong and significant relationship to the measured muscle volume (R2 values between 0.955 and 0.988) with low standard error of the estimates of 4.8 to 8.9%.

This study demonstrates that muscle volume may be estimated accurately in typically developing individuals and individuals with cerebral palsy by a combination of anatomical cross-sectional area and muscle length. 2D ultrasound may be a convenient method of making these measurements routinely in the clinic.

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