Magnetic resonance elastography of skeletal muscle

M. Alex Dresner, Gregory H. Rose, Phillip J. Rossman, Raja Muthupillai, Armando Manduca, Richard L. Ehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


While the contractile properties of skeletal muscle have been studied extensively, relatively little is known about the elastic properties of muscle in vivo. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a phase contrast-based method for observing shear waves propagating in a material to determine its stiffness. In this work, MHE is applied to skeletal muscle under load to quantify the change in stiffness with loading. A mathematical model of muscle is developed that predicts a linear relationship between shear stiffness and muscle load. The MRE technique was applied to bovine muscle specimens (N = 10) and human biceps brachii in vivo (N = 5). Muscle stiffness increased linearly for both passive tension (14.5 ± 1.77 kPa/kg) and active tension, in which the increase in stiffness was dependent upon muscle size, as predicted by the model. A means of noninvasively assessing the viscoelastic properties of skeletal muscle in vivo may provide a useful method for studying muscle biomechanics in health and disease. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2001;13:269-276.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Contraction
  • Elastography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mechanical properties
  • Muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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