A-mode and B-mode ultrasound measurement of subcutaneous fat thickness: a cadaver analysis validation study

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Poster session at 64th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine




Denver, CO

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With technological advances, there has been a resurgence in the use of ultrasound as a method to measure subcutaneous fat thickness. Despite the increased interest in this methodology, there is a lack of research comparing A-mode and B-mode ultrasound devices.

PURPOSE: Compare subcutaneous fat thickness measured by a low resolution A-mode ultrasound and a high resolution B-mode ultrasound to the actual fat thickness in dissected cadavers.

METHODS: Six cadavers (3 male, 3 female), 80.8 ± 8.9 y at the time of death, were measured. Subcutaneous fat thickness was measured at six sites (chest, abdomen, thigh, triceps, suprailiac, calf) with both ultrasound devices before the cadavers were dissected and site-specific thickness was measured.

RESULTS: Correlations between both ultrasounds and the dissected measurement exceeded 0.90 at all sites with a few exceptions. At the abdomen, the relationship between the two devices was 0.76, and the B-mode and dissected measurement was also 0.76. The correlation between dissection and A-mode was 0.75 for the suprailiac site, but it was not possible to discern the separation of tissue at this site when using the B-mode device. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between the devices and the dissected measurement at any of the six sites. The mean difference in fat thickness between A-mode and B-mode was < 0.7 mm at all sites except the calf (1.2 mm).

CONCLUSION: With the exception of the suprailiac site, which was difficult to measure, both A-mode and B-mode ultrasound are equally capable of providing measurements of subcutaneous fat thickness with an accuracy of < 1 mm at most sites.

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