In vivo strain measurements in the human buttock during sitting using MR-based digital volume correlation

Stefano Zappalá, Bethany E. Keenan, David Marshall, Jing Wu, Sam L. Evans, Rami M.A. Al-Dirini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


Advancements in systems for prevention and management of pressure ulcers require a more detailed understanding of the complex response of soft tissues to compressive loads. This study aimed at quantifying the progressive deformation of the buttock based on 3D measurements of soft tissue displacements from MR scans of 10 healthy subjects in a semi-recumbent position. Measurements were obtained using digital volume correlation (DVC) and released as a public dataset. A first parametric optimisation of the global registration step aimed at aligning skeletal elements showed acceptable values of Dice coefficient (around 80%). A second parametric optimisation on the deformable registration method showed errors of 0.99mm and 1.78mm against two simulated fields with magnitude 7.30±3.15mm and 19.37±9.58mm, respectively, generated with a finite element model of the buttock under sitting loads. Measurements allowed the quantification of the slide of the gluteus maximus away from the ischial tuberosity (IT, average 13.74 mm) that was only qualitatively identified in the literature, highlighting the importance of the ischial bursa in allowing sliding. Spatial evolution of the maximus shear strain on a path from the IT to the seating interface showed a peak of compression in the fat, close to the interface with the muscle. Obtained peak values were above the proposed damage threshold in the literature. Results in the study showed the complexity of the deformation of the soft tissues in the buttock and the need for further investigations aimed at isolating factors such as tissue geometry, duration and extent of load, sitting posture and tissue properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111913
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Deep tissue injury
  • Digital volume correlation
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Soft tissues
  • Strain analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo strain measurements in the human buttock during sitting using MR-based digital volume correlation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this