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Magnetic resonance elastography: a review

PainSci » bibliography » Mariappan et al 2010
Tags: muscle pain, diagnosis, random, muscle, pain problems

Two articles on PainSci cite Mariappan 2010: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain2. The Trigger Point Identity Crisis

PainSci commentary on Mariappan 2010: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This is a general review of magnetic resonance elastography, which is used to objectively assess the stiffness of tissues, including muscle:

MRE has also been extensively investigated for studying the stiffness of skeletal muscle since it is well known that the stiffness changes significantly depending upon the contractile state of the muscle (Dresner et al., 2001; Duck, 1990; Ringleb et al., 2007; Sack et al., 2002). Skeletal muscle MRE can be used for studying the physiological response of diseased and damaged muscles. For instance, it has been found that there is a difference in the stiffness of muscles with and without neuromuscular disease (Basford et al., 2002).

Obviously this is potentially applicable to diagnosing trigger points (see Chen 2008).

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a rapidly developing technology for quantitatively assessing the mechanical properties of tissue. The technology can be considered to be an imaging-based counterpart to palpation, commonly used by physicians to diagnose and characterize diseases. The success of palpation as a diagnostic method is based on the fact that the mechanical properties of tissues are often dramatically affected by the presence of disease processes, such as cancer, inflammation, and fibrosis. MRE obtains information about the stiffness of tissue by assessing the propagation of mechanical waves through the tissue with a special magnetic resonance imaging technique. The technique essentially involves three steps: (1) generating shear waves in the tissue, (2) acquiring MR images depicting the propagation of the induced shear waves, and (3) processing the images of the shear waves to generate quantitative maps of tissue stiffness, called elastograms. MRE is already being used clinically for the assessment of patients with chronic liver diseases and is emerging as a safe, reliable, and noninvasive alternative to liver biopsy for staging hepatic fibrosis. MRE is also being investigated for application to pathologies of other organs including the brain, breast, blood vessels, heart, kidneys, lungs, and skeletal muscle. The purpose of this review article is to introduce this technology to clinical anatomists and to summarize some of the current clinical applications that are being pursued.

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