Taking Quality Body Composition Images

How to Take a Quality Body Composition Image


Body composition images require moderate pressure. Moderate pressure is defined as enough pressure to show slight indentation on the skin around the probe and that which creates the brightest and flattest fat/muscle boundary. Pressure plays an important role in standardizing how much the fat layer of the athlete is compressed. Thicker fat is more susceptible to compression while thinner fat layers are less susceptible. 


Use the thinnest layer of gel possible that still provides clear bright image and uninterrupted probe to skin contact. If there is too much gel there will be a solid dark feature across the top of the image before the dermis starts. This will cause readings to be higher than they actually are. 

If you have too much gel there are two techniques to even out and minimize the gel while still maintain solid skin probe contact:

  1. Use the corner edge of the probe like a spatula to equally distribute gel while removing excess. 
  2. Spread the gel thin by swirling the probe in circular motions on the skin. 

Flat, Horizontal Tissue Layers

Tilt the probe to capture a flat horizontal fat/muscle boundary. You will recognize a flat fascial plane when the fat/muscle boundary is at the same height vertically both on the left and right side of the ultrasound image.  Horizontal layers will improve the accuracy by which the software measures fat thickness. 

Tilt the probe to brighten and focus the fat/muscle boundary. The brighter the feature of interest the better the software will identify the right fat thickness.

Example of a Good Image

Example of a Bad Image

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