Transverse Muscle Ultrasound Analysis (TRAMA): robust and accurate segmentation of muscle cross-sectional area

Massimo Salvi (Corresponding author), Cristina Caresio, Kristen M. Meiburger, Bruno De Santi, Filippo Molinari, Marco Alessandro Minetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Ultrasonography allows non-invasive and real time-measurement of the visible cross-sectional area (CSA) of muscles, which is a clinically relevant descriptor of muscle size. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a fully automatic method called transverse muscle ultrasound analysis (TRAMA) for segmentation of the muscle in B-mode transverse ultrasound images and measurement of muscle CSA. TRAMA was tested on a database of 200 ultrasound images of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, tibialis anterior and medial gastrocnemius muscles. The automatic CSA measurements were compared with manual measurements obtained by two operators. There were no statistical differences between the automatic and manual measurements of CSA of the four muscles, and TRAMA performance was comparable to intra-operator variability in terms of the Dice similarity coefficient and Hausdorff distance between the automatic and manual segmentations. Compared with manual segmentation, the Dice similarity coefficient for the proposed method was always higher than 93%; the Hausdorff distance never exceeded 4 mm, and the maximum absolute error was 62 mm 2 . TRAMA is the first automated algorithm that analyzes and segments ultrasound scans of the muscle in the transverse plane. It can be adopted in future studies for automatic segmentation of muscle regions of interest to enhance and automatize a multitexture analysis of muscle structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-683
Number of pages12
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Automatic
  • Muscle ultrasonography
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Segmentation
  • Visible cross-sectional area
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonography/methods
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal/anatomy & histology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Adult
  • Female


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