Magnetic resonance imaging of transverse acoustic strain waves

Raja Muthupillai, Phillip J. Rossman, David J. Lomas, James F. Greenleaf, Stephen J. Riederer, Richard L. Ehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


We describe a phase contrast based MRI technique with high sensitivity to cyclic displacement that is capable of quantitatively imaging acoustic strain waves in tissue-like materials. A formalism for considering gradient waveforms as basis functions to measure arbitrary cyclic motion waveforms is introduced. Experiments with tissue-like agarose gel phantoms show that it is possible to measure small cyclic displacements at a submicron level by an appropriate choice of the applied gradient basis function and to use this capability to observe the spatial and temporal pattern of displacements caused by acoustic strain waves. The propagation characteristics of strain waves are determined by the mechanical properties of the media. It is therefore possible to use this technique to noninvasively estimate material properties such as elastic modulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-274
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • MR elastography
  • palpation
  • strain imaging
  • tissue elasticity
  • tumor detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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