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Strain elastography (also known as tissue strain elastography/static elastography/compression elastography) is a developing form of ultrasound that assesses tissues' macroscopic structure through the strain modulus. This is different from normal B-mode grayscale ultrasound which characterizes a tissue's elasticity but at a microscopic level.
Strain elastography relies on Young's modulus to detect strain in the axial dimension. The characteristics of an ultrasound beam through tissue before and after compression are compared. In some systems, the strain of tissues is measured in a semi-quantitative way, relying on Young's modulus, but not directly calculating it.
Applications of strain elastography are currently being developed for:
- breast ultrasound
- liver ultrasound
- detection of small lesions
- evaluation of diffuse liver disease
- prostate ultrasound
- thyroid nodule ultrasound
- musculoskeletal ultrasound
- obstetric ultrasound for preterm labor 2
There may also be some applications in echocardiography.
The technique is still being developed for clinical use. Currently, there are a number of different ways to perform strain elastography and continued improvement in differentiation between the lesion and background tissue is necessary for reliable clinical diagnosis.
- 1. Sigrist RMS, Liau J, Kaffas AE, Chammas MC, Willmann JK. Ultrasound Elastography: Review of Techniques and Clinical Applications. (2017) Theranostics. 7 (5): 1303-1329. doi:10.7150/thno.18650 - Pubmed
- 2. Gesthuysen A, Gesthuysen HK, Gesthuysen MlM, Gesthuysen BJ, Gesthuysen OdMK, Gesthuysen FM, Gesthuysen KsH, Gesthuysen MlU, Gesthuysen FA, Gesthuysen BE, Gesthuysen KW, Gesthuysen SR, Gesthuysen. Evaluation of Cervical Elastography Strain Pattern to Predict Preterm Birth. (2020) Ultraschall in der Medizin (Stuttgart, Germany : 1980). doi:10.1055/a-0865-1711 - Pubmed