Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a new way to image the body. It works by combining MRI imaging with sound waves to create a visual map (elastogram) showing the stiffness of body tissues.

MRE is used to detect hardening of the liver caused by many kinds of chronic liver disease. MRE also has the potential to become a noninvasive way to diagnose diseases in other parts of the body.

MRE was invented at Mayo Clinic. The test is available there and at various other centers. It's usually done as part of a conventional MRI exam.

Mayo Clinic’s approach

Aug. 02, 2017
  1. Zhang N, et al. Quantification of regional aortic stiffness using MR elastography: A phantom and ex-vivo porcine aorta study. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2016;34:91.
  2. Tang A, et al. Ultrasound elastography and MR elastography for assessing liver fibrosis: Part 2, diagnostic performance, confounders, and future directions. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2015;205:33.
  3. Tang A, et al. Ultrasound elastography and MR elastography for assessing liver fibrosis: Part 1, principles and techniques. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2015;205:22.
  4. Hiscox LV, et al. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) of the human brain: Technique, findings and clinical applications. Physics in Medicine & Biology. 2016;61:R401.
  5. Winn RH. Physiologic evaluation of the brain with magnetic resonance imaging. In: Youmans and Winn Neurological Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier, 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 4, 2017.
  6. Wagner M. Technical failure of MR elastography examinations of the liver: Experience from a large single-center study. Radiology. In press. Accessed April 4, 2017.
  7. Huber A, et al. State-of-the-art imaging of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis: A comprehensive review of current applications and future perspectives. European Journal of Radiology Open. 2015: 90.
  8. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) safety. RadiologyInfo.org. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=safety-mr. Accessed Apr. 13, 2017.
  9. Low G, et al. General review of magnetic resonance elastography. World Journal of Radiology. 2016;8:59.
  10. Brown A. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 22, 2016.