Imaging mechanical properties of hepatic tissue by magnetic resonance elastography

Meng Yin, Olivier Rouviere, Lawrence J. Burgart, Jeff L. Fidler, Armando Manduca, Richard L. Ehman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


PURPOSE: To assess the feasibility of a modified phase-contrast MRI technique (MR Elastography) for quantitatively assessing the mechanical properties of hepatic tissues by imaging propagating acoustic shear waves. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Both phantom and human studies were performed to develop and optimize a practical imaging protocol by visualizing and investigating the diffraction field of shear waves generated from pneumatic longitudinal drivers. The effects of interposed ribs in a transcostal approach were also investigated. A gradient echo MRE pulse sequence was adapted for shear wave imaging in the liver during suspended respiration, and then tested to measure hepatic shear stiffness in 13 healthy volunteers and 1 patient with chronic liver disease to determine the potential of non-invasively detecting liver fibrosis. RESULTS: Phantom studies demonstrate that longitudinal waves generated by the driver are mode-converted to shear waves in a distribution governed by diffraction principles. The transcostal approach was determined to be the most effective method for generating shear waves in human studies. Hepatic stiffness measurements in the 13 normal volunteers demonstrated a mean value of 2.0±0.2kPa. The shear stiffness measurement in the patient was much higher at 8.5kPa. CONCLUSION: MR Elastography of the liver shows promise as a method to non-invasively detect and characterize diffuse liver disease, potentially reducing the need for biopsy to diagnose hepatic fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2006
Subtitle of host publicationPhysiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images
StatePublished - 2006
EventMedical Imaging 2006: Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 12 2006Feb 14 2006

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Volume6143 I
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2006: Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Diffraction
  • Elastography
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Liver
  • Shear stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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