Magnetic Resonance Elastography
- Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), a technique developed by Richard Ehman, MD, and colleagues at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), uses low-frequency mechanical waves to probe the elastic properties of tissue. These mechanical waves are generated in the body through an external acoustic driver, which are then imaged using a special phase-contrast MR sequence. Using a sophisticated mathematical algorithm, the mechanical wave data collected by the MR is then used to generate “elastograms” – diagnostic images that depict relative stiffness of tissues.
- MRE gives referring physicians a powerful new option for liver assessment. It is a new tool that provides diagnostic information without the discomfort and risk of complications due to invasive procedures, enabling more frequent evaluation when closer monitoring is needed. By creating a visual representation of liver tissue stiffness, MRE helps radiologists deliver a more confident diagnosis at a lower cost than previous techniques. Both comprehensive and non-invasive, MRE can appeal to patients and referring physicians and can help expand the role of radiology into new areas. More than anything else, MRE holds the promise of better outcomes at lower costs to the healthcare system.