Anisotropic Composite Material Phantom Tested Using Magnetic Resonance Elastography

Background: The presence and progression of neuromuscular pathologies, including spasticity, dystrophy and hyperthyroidism, have been correlated with changes in the intrinsic mechanical properties of skeletal muscle tissue. Tools of noninvasively measuring and monitoring these properties, such as Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE), could benefit basic research into understanding neuromuscular pathologies, as well as translational research to develop therapies, by providing a means of assessing and tracking their efficacy. While various approaches have been proposed in the literature [1,2], there is not yet an accepted standard for the identification of the mechanical properties of anisotropic and viscoelastic tissues through MRE; advances in this technique at every step have been aided by phantom materials approximating the target tissue.
Aims: The aim of the present study was to develop and characterize a heterogeneous composite phantom design with uniform and controllable anisotropic properties comparable to skeletal muscle tissue.