Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE)

Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is an emerging non-invasive technology for quantitatively assessing mechanical properties of tissue. The technology can be considered to be an imaging-based counterpart to palpation which has been successfully applied as a diagnostic method for centuries. The success of palpation is based on the fact that mechanical properties of tissues are often considerably affected by disease. MRE involves three essential steps: (i) generation of low frequency shear waves in tissue, (ii) encoding of the resulting harmonic tissue motion into MR phase images, and (iii) processing the acquired image data to generate quantitative maps of elastic tissue properties. The MRE work group of the Charité has made various trend-setting technical and methodological contributions to the key aspects of this new imaging technique. MRE is already being used clinically for the staging of hepatic fibrosis and was recently successfully applied to various types of neurodegenerative diseases. MRE is also being used for the measurement of pressure-related properties, e.g. for the assessment of myocardial function. Furthermore, the technique is being investigated for the application to pathologies of other organs including the lung, skeletal muscle, breast, kidneys and prostate.

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