Effects of Transducer Mass on Intramuscular Temperature During Ultrasound Treatments

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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A potential variable that could affect rate of temperature elevation with ultrasound is the pressure (mass) that is applied to the transducer head during application. Added pressure could compress the tissue, affecting density and the transmission of ultrasound energy. Little research has been completed to determine the effects of the amount of pressure applied during therapeutic ultrasound in vivo.


To determine the effects of different applied transducer mass on intramuscular temperature during an ultrasound treatment within the left triceps surae.


Crossover clinical trial.


Human performance research laboratory.


Convenience sample of thirteen healthy, college-age students.


Three separate MHz, 1.0-W/cm2 ultrasound treatments were administered 1.5 cm within the triceps surae. The independent variables were the linear temperature standards (0.5°C, 1.0°C, 1.5°C, and 2.0°C above baseline) and the 3 different applied pressures measured in grams (200 g, 600 g, and 800 g).

Main Outcome Measures:

A thermocouple probe was used to measure triceps surae temperature, and time to reach the temperature standards was recorded during the ultrasound treatments. A 4 × 3 repeated-measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) was used to analyze the differences for temperature points (0.5°C, 1.0°C, 1.5°C, and 2.0°C) and transducer mass (200 g, 600 g, and 800 g) and with respect to time.


The results of the RM-ANOVA showed no temperature-point and transducer-mass interaction (F6,72 = 1.69, P = .137) or main effect for mass (F2,24 = 1.23, P = .309). The time required to raise temperature 2°C was 209.1 ± 68.10 s at 200 g, 181.5 ± 61.50 s at 600 g, and 194.9 ± 75.54 s at 800 g.


Under the conditions of this study, the amount of mass applied with the transducer during an ultrasound treatment does not ultimately affect the rate of tissue heating.

Krasinski is with the Dept of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI. Thrasher is with the Dept of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science, Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Miller is with the Dept of Human Performance and Health Education, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Holcomb is with the School of Human Performance and Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS.