New ultrasound machine gives physiotherapy research more muscle

Published:19 October 2017

CQUni Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy Luke Heales demonstrates the new Aixplorer Ultrasound machine with technical officer and Exercise and Sports Science alumnus Nyree Humphris.

Improving the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries could come at the push of a button, with CQUniversity’s Physiotherapy Department discovering the potential of a new ultrasound machine.

CQUniversity Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy Luke Heales said in the past 12 months since the University acquired the $150,000 SuperSonic Imagine Aixplorer, many new possibilities had arisen for research into elastography.

“The ultrasound machine uses advanced technology to allow the operator to reliably quantify the stiffness of tissue in real-time,” he said.

“This technology has been used in the screening and staging of breast cancer and liver disease, however we use the ultrasound machine to study changes between those with and without musculoskeletal injuries and following physiotherapy interventions.”

He said several studies had been undertaken using the ultrasound machine, including collaborations with The University of Queensland and The University of Nantes (France) (who also have the same device), investigating tendon stiffness in those with and without tendon pain and muscle and tendon stiffness following exercise.

Future research with the machine will be explored when Luke travels to France in November to work with some of the world’s leading experts in shearwave elastography.

“Professor in Human Movement Sciences Francois Hug and Associate Professor in Muscle-Tendon Biomechanics Antoine Nordez,” he said.

“I will work with them to explore the capabilities of the Aixplorer ultrasound machine with the aim of enhancing our research back here at CQUniversity.

“This machine will help us develop a better understanding of the aetiology and management of musculoskeletal injuries.”