Index of content:
Volume 117, Issue 5, May 2005
- TUTORIAL REVIEW 
117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1880772View Description Hide Description
A number of different approaches have been developed to estimate and image the elastic properties of tissue. The biomechanicalproperties of tissues are vitally linked to function and pathology, but cannot be directly assessed by conventional ultrasound,MRI,CT, or nuclear imaging. Research developments have introduced new approaches, using either MRI or ultrasound to image the tissue response to some stimulus. A wide range of stimuli has been evaluated, including heat, water jets, vibration shear waves, compression, and quasistatic compression, using single or multiple steps or low-frequency (<10 Hz) cyclic excitation. These may seem to be greatly dissimilar, and appear to produce distinctly different types of information and images. However, our purpose in this tutorial is to review the major classes of excitation stimuli, and then to demonstrate that they produce responses that fall within a common spectrum of elastic behavior. Within this spectrum, the major classes of excitation include step compression, cyclic quasistatic compression, harmonic shear wave excitation, and transient shear wave excitation. The information they reveal about the unknown elastic distribution within an imaging region of interest are shown to be fundamentally related because the tissue responses are governed by the same equation. Examples use simple geometry to emphasize the common nature of the approaches.