Assessing sarcopenia with vastus lateralis muscle ultrasound: an operative protocol

Andrea Ticinesi, Marco V. Narici, Fulvio Lauretani, Antonio Nouvenne, Elena Colizzi, Marco Mantovani, Andrea Corsonello, Francesco Landi, Tiziana Meschi, Marcello Maggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Muscle ultrasound (MUS) has so far not been implemented for sarcopenia assessment in clinical geriatric practice due to allegedly low reproducibility of results in the absence of standardization of procedures. However, rigorous and standardized application of this technique yields highly reproducible results. Its application, especially if integrated with clinical evaluation and comprehensive geriatric assessment, proofs very useful for rapidly obtaining information on muscle mass and architecture. Objective: Here, we present a standardized protocol for performing right vastus lateralis (RVL) MUS and measuring parameters of muscle size and architecture. Methods: RVL muscle thickness (MT), fascicle length (FL), pennation angle (PA), echo-intensity (EI) and cross-sectional area (CSA) can be assessed with this protocol. A portable instrument equipped with a 5-cm long 3–11 mHz linear probe should be used with both B-mode real-time and extended-field-of-view (EFOV) techniques. Longitudinal B-mode and transverse EFOV images should be acquired during each exam, and analyzed with NIH-ImageJ software. Conclusions: This operative protocol represents a good compromise between the feasibility of MUS in clinical settings and the need of obtaining precise measurements of muscle parameters. Future studies should verify the reproducibility of the proposed technique, and its correlation with appendicular lean mass and parameters of muscle function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1443
Number of pages7
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Myopenia
  • Physical frailty
  • Sarcopenia
  • Skeletal muscle mass
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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