Magnetic resonance elastography: from invention to standard of care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: In 1995, a vivid image of diffracting waves in red and blue was published on the cover of the journal SCIENCE. An article in that issue described a new imaging technology called magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) (Muthupillai in Science 269:1854–1857, 1995). In 2004, quantitative images of liver stiffness in vivo, obtained with MRE, were demonstrated for the first time at the annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Only five years later, the technology had become widely available as an FDA-cleared diagnostic tool for patient care. MRE has emerged as a reliable non-invasive diagnostic method for detecting and staging liver fibrosis. Deployed on more than 2000 MRI systems worldwide, MRE has received a Category I CPT code from the American Medical Association, based on clinical availability and efficacy. For many patients, MRE now provides a safe, more comfortable, and much less expensive alternative to liver biopsy for diagnosing liver fibrosis. Although progress in radiology is notable for a history of very rapid translation of technology innovations to patient care, the path is rarely linear. This article reflects on the story of MRE, the advances and the setbacks, and the lessons that were learned in the process. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3028-3036
Number of pages9
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Invention
  • Magnetic resonance elastography
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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