Using ultrasound elastography to assess non-invasive, non-pharmacological interventions for musculoskeletal stiffness: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Tiev Miller, Umar M. Bello, Charlotte S.L. Tsang, Stanley J. Winser, Michael T.C. Ying, Marco Y.C. Pang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose
To evaluate the current evidence regarding the use of ultrasound elastography for assessing non-invasive, non-pharmacological interventions for eliciting changes in musculoskeletal stiffness.
Methods
A systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases was performed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Information on measurement and intervention procedures was extracted. Bias was assessed using Cochrane Risk of Bias or Risk of Bias In Non-randomised Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tools for studies with true or quasi-experimental designs, respectively. Analyses were conducted for adequately powered subgroups based on intervention type, measurement site, and population assessed.
Results
Twenty-one studies were included in the review. Overall risk of bias was low for true experimental studies and moderate for quasi-experimental studies. Subgroup analyses indicated a large overall effect for interventions involving manual physiotherapy and taping/splinting for reducing masseter muscle stiffness in patients with masticatory muscle disorders (g = 1.488, 95% CI = 0.320–2.655, p = 0.013). Analyses for other intervention types and patient groups were underpowered.
Conclusion
Ultrasound elastography demonstrates clinical applicability for assessing non-invasive, non-pharmacological interventions for musculoskeletal stiffness. However, the comparative efficacy of these interventions for modulating tissue stiffness remains inconclusive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date5 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • ultrasonography
  • elasticity imaging techniques
  • musculoskeletal system
  • conservative treatment
  • physical therapy modalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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