TREMR: Table-resonance elastography with MR.
Gallichan D., Robson MD., Bartsch A., Miller KL.
Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a noninvasive method of measuring tissue compliance. Current MRE methods rely on custom-built hardware to elicit vibrations that are tracked by MR imaging. Knowledge of the wave propagation can be used to calculate the local shear stiffness of the tissue. We sought to determine whether the vibrations of the patient table that result from low-frequency switching of the imaging gradients could be used as an alternative mechanical driving mechanism for MRE. We designed a pulse sequence that includes a gradient lobe specifically for the excitation of mechanical resonance, allowing control of the time between the onset of the vibrations and the velocity-encoding of the readout. Data collected from a gelatin phantom with stiff cylindrical gelatin inserts demonstrated that wave propagation can be imaged with this method. Postprocessing to estimate the local spatial frequency of the waves also allows estimation of the local shear stiffness, where the stiff inserts are clearly identifiable. Data collected on the brain of a normal healthy volunteer showed clear rotational waves propagating from the skull inwards, also allowing generation of shear stiffness maps.