Reliable assessment of forearm photoageing by high-frequency ultrasound: a cross-sectional study
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High-frequency ultrasound is a non-invasive tool used in skin ageing research to assess dermis thickness and echogenicity. This study evaluated the reliability of a range of high-frequency ultrasound parameters and tested their correlation with age and a validated clinical scale for the assessment of forearm skin photoageing; the difference between two body sites according to environmental exposition patterns was also investigated. Twenty-three volunteers aged 28-82 years were divided into three groups according to forearm photoageing degree. A 20 MHz ultrasound unit was used to obtain cross-sectional images of the skin by two trained investigators on two different sites: the dorsal forearm (chronically photoexposed skin) and the proximal medial arm (non-photoexposed skin). Several echogenicity parameters were studied for each skin compartment: total dermis, upper dermis and lower dermis, and the ratio between upper and lower dermis. The intraclass correlation coefficient (for complete agreement) between investigators was higher for upper and total dermis echogenicity measures compared with the lower dermis. At the non-photoexposed site, the upper and lower dermis parameter ratio was better correlated with age. At the photoexposed area, total dermis parameters demonstrated higher correlations with clinical score. The authors discuss the choice of parameters for forearm photoageing assessment using high-frequency ultrasound.