Magnetic resonance elastography hardware design: a survey

Z T H Tse, H Janssen, A Hamed, M Ristic, I Young, M Lamperth
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of Engineering in Medicine 2009, 223 (4): 497-514
Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is an emerging technique capable of measuring the shear modulus of tissue. A suspected tumour can be identified by comparing its properties with those of tissues surrounding it; this can be achieved even in deep-lying areas as long as mechanical excitation is possible. This would allow non-invasive methods for cancer-related diagnosis in areas not accessible with conventional palpation. An actuating mechanism is required to generate the necessary tissue displacements directly on the patient in the scanner and three different approaches, in terms of actuator action and position, exist to derive stiffness measurements. However, the magnetic resonance (MR) environment places considerable constraints on the design of such devices, such as the possibility of mutual interference between electrical components, the scanner field, and radio frequency pulses, and the physical space restrictions of the scanner bore. This paper presents a review of the current solutions that have been developed for MRE devices giving particular consideration to the design criteria including the required vibration frequency and amplitude in different applications, the issue of MR compatibility, actuation principles, design complexity, and scanner synchronization issues. The future challenges in this field are also described.

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