Department of Radiological Sciences, Graduate School of Human Health Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 7-2-10, Higashiogu, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo 116-8551, Japan; Health Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-2-1, Namiki, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8564, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]
We developed a Magnetic Resonance elastography (MRE) technique using a conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allows a simultaneous elastography of the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles, by designing a new wave transducer (vibration pad) and optimizing the mechanical vibration frequency. Five healthy volunteers underwent an MRE. In order to transmit the mechanical vibration (pneumatic vibration) to the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles, a new vibration pad was designed using a three-dimensional (3D) printer. The vibration pad was placed on the skin 2 cm medial and 2 cm cephalad the deltoid tubercle. MRE acquisition was performed with a multi-slice gradient-echo type multi-echo MR sequence, which allows MREs even in a conventional MRI; two oblique axial images of the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles were obtained simultaneously. Vibration frequencies were set at 50-150 Hz, with a 25 Hz step. Wave image quality in each frequency was analyzed using a phase-to-noise ratio (PNR) and clarity of propagating wave that was assessed by two readers qualitatively. In the supraspinatus muscle, the wave images were of good quality especially at frequencies >75 Hz. In the trapezius muscle, the wave images were of better quality at low frequencies (50 and 75 Hz) compared with high frequencies (100-150 Hz). The PNR of both muscles were higher at low frequencies. The mean stiffness in the trapezius muscle (7.26 ± 2.13 kPa at 75 Hz) was larger than those in the supraspinatus muscle (4.16 ± 0.50 kPa at 75 Hz). The results demonstrated that our MRE technique allows simultaneous assessment of the stiffness in the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles using a conventional MRI, and that optimal vibration frequency for simultaneous MRE of these muscles is 75 Hz. This technique provides a new means for early detection of abnormality in the shoulder.