Sonomyography: Monitoring morphological changes of forearm muscles in actions with the feasibility for the control of powered prosthesis

Yongping Zheng, M. M.F. Chan, J. Shi, X. Chen, Q. H. Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Electromyography (EMG) has been widely used for the assessment of musculoskeletal functions and the control of electrical prostheses, which make use of the EMG signal generated by the contraction of the residual muscles. In spite of the successful applications of EMG in different fields, it has some inherent limitations, such as the difficulty to differentiate the actions of neighboring muscles and to collect signals from deep muscles using the surface EMG. The majority of current EMG controlled prostheses can only provide sequential on-off controls using signals from two groups of muscles, so the users are required to put many conscious efforts in monitoring the speed and range of motion of the terminal devices being controlled. Recently, many alternative signals based on the detection of dimensional changes of muscles or tendons during actions have been reported. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential of the dimensional change of muscles detected using sonography for musculoskeletal assessment and control. A portable B-mode ultrasound scanner was used to collect the dynamic ultrasound images of the forearm muscles of six normally limbed young adults and three amputee subjects. A motion analysis system was used to collect the movement of the wrist angle during the experiments for the normal subjects. It was demonstrated that the morphological changes of forearm muscles during actions can be successfully detected by ultrasound and linearly correlated (R2= 0.876 ± 0.042, mean ± S.D.) with the wrist angle. We named these sonographically detected signals about the architectural change of the muscle as sonomyography (SMG). The mean ratio between the wrist angle and the percentage deformation of the forearm muscle was 7.2 ± 3.7°/% for the normal subjects. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of this ratio among the three repeated tests was 0.868. The SMG signals from the residual forearms were also successfully detected when the three amputee subjects contracted their residual muscles. The results demonstrated that SMG had potentials for the musculoskeletal control and assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Motion analysis
  • Muscle
  • Prosthesis control
  • Sonomyography (SMG)
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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