Measurement of tissue hardness: Can this be a method of diagnosing compartment syndrome noninvasively in children?

Benjamin Joseph, Renjit A. Varghese, Kishore Mulpuri, Sujesh Paravatty, Sujata Kamath, N. Nagaraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In order to assess the feasibility of using the measurement of tissue hardness as a method of diagnosing compartment syndrome noninvasively in children, a simple hand-held device to measure tissue hardness was fabricated. The relationship between hardness and compartmental pressure was studied in an experimental model and in three fresh amputated lower limbs. Normal tissue hardness of the forearm was measured in 189 children and 20 adults to identify the factors that influence normal tissue hardness. The reproducibility of measurement of tissue hardness was assessed on the experimental model, on the amputated limbs and in normal individuals. Experimental data from this study suggest that there is a nonlinear relationship between intracompartmental pressure and tissue hardness. The study also shows that tissue hardness can be measured reproducibly in the forearm of children with the device. Several factors influence tissue hardness such as the age of the child, the site of measurement on the limb, the hand dominance and active muscle contraction. These factors may affect the specificity of this measure as a screening tool for diagnosing compartment syndrome. Further refinement of the measuring device and well designed clinical trials are needed to establish whether compartmental syndrome can be diagnosed reliably by measuring tissue hardness noninvasively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics Part B
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01-11-2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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