The well-documented effectiveness of palpation as a diagnostic technique for detecting cancer and other diseases has provided motivation for developing imaging techniques for noninvasively evaluating the mechanical properties of tissue. A recently described approach for elasticity imaging, using propagating acoustic shear waves and phase-contrast MRI, has been called magnetic resonance elastography (MRE). The purpose of this work was to conduct preliminary studies to define methods for using MRE as a tool for addressing the paucity of quantitative tissue mechanical property data in the literature. Fresh animal liver and kidney tissue specimens were evaluated with MRE at multiple shear wave frequencies. The influence of specimen temperature and orientation on measurements of stiffness was studied in skeletal muscle. The results demonstrated that all of the materials tested (liver, kidney, muscle and tissue-simulating gel) exhibit systematic dependence of shear stiffness on shear rate. These data are consistent with a viscoelastic model of tissue mechanical properties, allowing calculation of two independent tissue properties from multiple-frequency MRE data: shear modulus and shear viscosity. The shear stiffness of tissue can be substantially affected by specimen temperature. The results also demonstrated evidence of shear anisotropy in skeletal muscle but not liver tissue. The measured shear stiffness in skeletal muscle was found to depend on both the direction of propagation and polarization of the shear waves.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging