Multiresolution MR elastography using nonlinear inversion

M. D J McGarry, E. E W Van Houten, C. L. Johnson, J. G. Georgiadis, B. P. Sutton, J. B. Weaver, K. D. Paulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Nonlinear inversion (NLI) in MR elastography requires discretization of the displacement field for a finite element (FE) solution of the forward problem, and discretization of the unknown mechanical property field for the iterative solution of the inverse problem. The resolution requirements for these two discretizations are different: the forward problem requires sufficient resolution of the displacement FE mesh to ensure convergence, whereas lowering the mechanical property resolution in the inverse problem stabilizes the mechanical property estimates in the presence of measurement noise. Previous NLI implementations use the same FE mesh to support the displacement and property fields, requiring a trade-off between the competing resolution requirements. Methods: This work implements and evaluates multiresolution FE meshes for NLI elastography, allowing independent discretizations of the displacements and each mechanical property parameter to be estimated. The displacement resolution can then be selected to ensure mesh convergence, and the resolution of the property meshes can be independently manipulated to control the stability of the inversion. Results: Phantom experiments indicate that eight nodes per wavelength (NPW) are sufficient for accurate mechanical property recovery, whereas mechanical property estimation from 50 Hz in vivo brain data stabilizes once the displacement resolution reaches 1.7 mm (approximately 19 NPW). Viscoelastic mechanical property estimates of in vivo brain tissue show that subsampling the loss modulus while holding the storage modulus resolution constant does not substantially alter the storage modulus images. Controlling the ratio of the number of measurements to unknown mechanical properties by subsampling the mechanical property distributions (relative to the data resolution) improves the repeatability of the property estimates, at a cost of modestly decreased spatial resolution. Conclusions: Multiresolution NLI elastography provides a more flexible framework for mechanical property estimation compared to previous single mesh implementations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6388-6396
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • finite element
  • inverse problems
  • MR elastography
  • viscoelastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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