Objective: Sitting-acquired pressure ulcers (PUs) are common in wheelchair users. These PUs are often serious and may involve deep tissue injury (DTI). Investigating the mechanical properties of the tissues susceptible to DTI may help in guiding the prevention and early detection of PUs. In this study, shear wave elastography (SWE) was used to measure the normative mechanical properties of the soft tissues of the buttocks, i.e. skeletal muscle and subcutaneous fat, under the ischial tuberosities, in a convenient sample of healthy adults without weight bearing and with weight bearing of different times. Approach: We compared the stiffness properties of these soft tissues between the lying prone and sitting postures, to determine whether there are detectable property changes that may be associated with the type of posture. We hypothesized that muscle contractions and 3D tissue configurations associated with the posture may influence the measured tissue stiffnesses. Main results: Our results have shown that indeed, SWE values differed significantly across postures, but not over time in a specific posture or for the right versus left sides of the body. Significance: We have therefore demonstrated that soft-tissue stiffness increases when sitting with weight bearing and may contribute to increasing the potential PU risk in sitting compared to lying prone, given the stiffer behavior of tissues observed in sitting postures.
- Pressure injury
- Tissue mechanics