Improved Hardware for Higher Spatial Resolution Strain-encoded (SENC) Breast MRI for Strain Measurements

Ahmed A. Harouni, Jakir Hossain, Michael A. Jacobs, Nael F. Osman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Early detection of breast lesions using mammography has resulted in lower mortality rates. However, some breast lesions are mammography occult, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended, but it has lower specificity. It is possible to achieve higher specificity by using strain-encoded (SENC) MRI and/or magnetic resonance elastography. SENC breast MRI can measure the strain properties of breast tissue. Similarly, magnetic resonance elastography is used to measure the elasticity (ie, shear stiffness) of different tissue compositions interrogating the tissue mechanical properties. Reports have shown that malignant tumors are three to 13 times stiffer than normal tissue and benign tumors. Materials and Methods: The investigators have developed a SENC breast hardware device capable of periodically compressing the breast, thus allowing for longer scanning time and measuring the strain characteristics of breast tissue. This hardware enables the use of SENC MRI with high spatial resolution (1 × 1 × 5 mm3) instead of fast SENC imaging. Simple controls and multiple safety measures were added to ensure accurate, repeatable, and safe in vivo experiments. Results: Phantom experiments showed that SENC breast MRI has higher signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratio than fast SENC imaging under different scanning resolutions. Finally, the SENC breast device reproducibility measurements resulted in a difference of <1 mm with a 1% strain difference. Conclusions: SENC breast magnetic resonance images have higher signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratios than fast SENC images. Thus, combining SENC breast strain measurements with diagnostic breast MRI to differentiate benign from malignant lesions could potentially increase the specificity of diagnosis in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-715
Number of pages11
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Elastography
  • MRI
  • SENC
  • Strain-encoded MRI
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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