PURPOSE: This study examined the imaging procedure of pectoralis minor muscle thickness and assessed the intra- and inter-rater reliability of the muscle thickness measured by two raters using rehabilitative ultrasound imaging (RUSI) in healthy individuals.
METHODS: Fifteen participants (aged 21 - 28, seven females, and eight males) were involved in the study. The primary rater palpated the coracoid process and the fourth rib, defined as the width of the index finger lateral to the sternum to avoid breast tissues, and lined the two landmarks. The second examiner checked 1 / 3 (1st point) and 1 / 2 (2nd point) of the line length as measurement points. The two raters obtained right side muscle images of the participants at a standardized sitting position using RUSI with a 7.5 MHz linear transducer at 40mm depth. For intra-rater reliability, the principal rater took three images per point and tried to take one more with an interval. For the inter-rater reliability, the other rater performed the same tasks as the principal rater on the same day. The reliability was analyzed using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), the standard error of the measurement (SEM), and Bland and Altman plots.
RESULTS: The reliability at all points was excellent for the same rater (ICC 3,1 = .973 - .978, SEM = .042 - .046), and between raters (ICC 2,1 = .939 - .959, SEM = .059 - .097).
CONCLUSION: These findings show that the RUSI could be reliable for examining the pectoralis minor muscle thickness in healthy individuals at all measurement sites.