Background Precise and accurate field methods for body composition analyses in athletes are needed urgently. Aim Standardisation of a novel ultrasound (US) technique for accurate and reliable measurement of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT). Methods Three observers captured US images of uncompressed SAT in 12 athletes and applied a semiautomatic evaluation algorithm for multiple SAT measurements. Results Eight new sites are recommended: upper abdomen, lower abdomen, erector spinae, distal triceps, brachioradialis, lateral thigh, front thigh, medial calf. Obtainable accuracy was 0.2 mm (18 MHz probe; speed of sound: 1450 m/s). Reliability of SAT thickness sums (N=36): R2=0.998, SEE=0.55 mm, ICC (95% CI) 0.998 (0.994 to 0.999); observer differences from their mean: 95% of the SAT thickness sums were within ±1 mm (sums of SAT thicknesses ranged from 10 to 50 mm). Embedded fibrous tissues were also measured. Conclusions A minimum of eight sites is suggested to accommodate inter-individual differences in SAT patterning. All sites overlie muscle with a clearly visible fascia, which eases the acquisition of clear images and the marking of these sites takes only a few minutes. This US method reaches the fundamental accuracy and precision limits for SAT measurements given by tissue plasticity and furrowed borders, provided the measurers are trained appropriately.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation