Stiffness reconstruction methods for MR elastography

Daniel Fovargue*, David Nordsletten, Ralph Sinkus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment of tissue stiffness is desirable for clinicians and researchers, as it is well established that pathophysiological mechanisms often alter the structural properties of tissue. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) provides an avenue for measuring tissue stiffness and has a long history of clinical application, including staging liver fibrosis and stratifying breast cancer malignancy. A vital component of MRE consists of the reconstruction algorithms used to derive stiffness from wave-motion images by solving inverse problems. A large range of reconstruction methods have been presented in the literature, with differing computational expense, required user input, underlying physical assumptions, and techniques for numerical evaluation. These differences, in turn, have led to varying accuracy, robustness, and ease of use. While most reconstruction techniques have been validated against in silico or in vitro phantoms, performance with real data is often more challenging, stressing the robustness and assumptions of these algorithms. This article reviews many current MRE reconstruction methods and discusses the aforementioned differences. The material assumptions underlying the methods are developed and various approaches for noise reduction, regularization, and numerical discretization are discussed. Reconstruction methods are categorized by inversion type, underlying assumptions, and their use in human and animal studies. Future directions, such as alternative material assumptions, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2018


  • Inverse problem
  • MR elastography
  • Reconstruction
  • Review
  • Shear-modulus tissue stiffness


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