Magnetic resonance elastography of skeletal muscle deep tissue injury

Jules L. Nelissen*, Ralph Sinkus, Klaas Nicolay, Aart J. Nederveen, Cees W.J. Oomens, Gustav J. Strijkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


The current state-of-the-art diagnosis method for deep tissue injury in muscle, a subcategory of pressure ulcers, is palpation. It is recognized that deep tissue injury is frequently preceded by altered biomechanical properties. A quantitative understanding of the changes in biomechanical properties preceding and during deep tissue injury development is therefore highly desired. In this paper we quantified the spatial–temporal changes in mechanical properties upon damage development and recovery in a rat model of deep tissue injury. Deep tissue injury was induced in nine rats by two hours of sustained deformation of the tibialis anterior muscle. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), T 2 -weighted, and T 2 -mapping measurements were performed before, directly after indentation, and at several timepoints during a 14-day follow-up. The results revealed a local hotspot of elevated shear modulus (from 3.30 ± 0.14 kPa before to 4.22 ± 0.90 kPa after) near the center of deformation at Day 0, whereas the T 2 was elevated in a larger area. During recovery there was a clear difference in the time course of the shear modulus and T 2 . Whereas T 2 showed a gradual normalization towards baseline, the shear modulus dropped below baseline from Day 3 up to Day 10 (from 3.29 ± 0.07 kPa before to 2.68 ± 0.23 kPa at Day 10, P < 0.001), followed by a normalization at Day 14. In conclusion, we found an initial increase in shear modulus directly after two hours of damage-inducing deformation, which was followed by decreased shear modulus from Day 3 up to Day 10, and subsequent normalization. The lower shear modulus originates from the moderate to severe degeneration of the muscle. MRE stiffness values were affected in a smaller area as compared with T 2 . Since T 2 elevation is related to edema, distributing along the muscle fibers proximally and distally from the injury, we suggest that MRE is more specific than T 2 for localization of the actual damaged area.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4087
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number6
Early online date21 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • biomechanical properties
  • deep tissue injury
  • magnetic resonance elastography
  • MRI
  • muscle damage
  • pressure wound
  • skeletal pressure ulcer


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