Mechanical Imaging (MI) is a branch of Elastography. MI differs from conventional ultrasonic and MR elastography in that it evaluates soft tissue mechanical structure using stress data rather than dynamic or static strain data. MI closely mimics manual palpation because the MI probe with a force sensor array attached to its tip acts as a palpating finger. MI is intrinsically a three-dimensional imaging modality because the surface stress patterns obtained at different levels of tissue compression are defined by three-dimensional mechanical structure of the tissue. This review presents the biomechanical basis of MI and its applications for breast cancer screening, and the differentiation of benign and malignant lesions, the visualization and evaluation of prostate conditions, and for the characterization of vaginal wall elasticity.
Keywords: Elastography, elasticity imaging, soft tissue, mechanical imaging, tactile imaging, breast, prostate, cancer
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