Determination of thigh muscle stiffness using magnetic resonance elastography

Sabine F. Bensamoun, Stacie I. Ringleb, Laurel Littrell, Qingshan Chen, Michael Brennan, Richard L. Ehman, Kai Nan An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Purpose: To measure the elastic properties of the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), and sartorius (Sr) muscles using magnetic resonance elastography (MRE). Materials and Methods: To obtain a normative database of the aforementioned muscles, oblique scan directions were prescribed passing through each muscle. Shear waves were induced into the muscles using pneumatic and mechanical drivers at 90 and 120 Hz, respectively. These drivers were attached to the distal end of the right thigh with the knee flexed at 30°. The foot was placed in a footplate containing MR-compatible load cells to record the force during a contraction (10% and 20% of the maximum voluntary contraction). Results: The shear moduli measured at rest In the VL (N = 12), VM (N = 14), and Sr (N = 13) were 3.73 ± 0.85 kPa, 3.91 ± 1.15 kPa, and 7.53 ± 1.63 kPa, respectively. The stiffness of both vasti Increased with the level of contraction, while the stiffness of the Sr remained the same. Conclusion: The MRE technique was able to approximate the stiffness of different thigh muscles. Furthermore, the wave length was sensitive to the morphology (unipennate or longitudinal) and fiber composition (type I or II) in each muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-247
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Elastic properties
  • Magnetic resonance elastography
  • Thigh muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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