Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Hans Raj Chaudhry

Second Advisor

Thomas W. Findley

Third Advisor

Max Roman

Fourth Advisor

Bharat Biswal


The thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) is a complex structure made of many interconnecting aponeurosis and muscle fascia. It plays a role in posture, stabilizing the lumbosacral spine, load transfer, and respiration. Its complex structure and connections have mostly been observed through cadaveric studies while its mechanical properties have been addressed in only a few studies. Recently, new advances in ultrasound imaging have made it possible to move towards measuring tissue strain. Since this is an in vivo method, mechanical data of tissues in their natural environment allows a more accurate representation of tissue strain. However, many different methods of analyzing ultrasound data have been proposed.

In this study, the posterior layer of the TLF (pTLF) is studied under compression using ultrasound imaging in order to determine its mechanical properties. Using B mode imaging, deformation is measured in skin, fat, TLF, and the underlying erector spinae muscles using a tracking algorithm developed in Matlab. Data analysis is then used in a nonlinear mathematical model and a finite element model to quantitatively evaluate mechanical constants. Although TLF mechanical constants are not available for comparison, estimates of the modulus of elasticity of skin, superficial fascia, pTLF and the erector spinae muscle group are within an acceptable physiological range.



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