A novel MRI compatible soft tissue indentor and fibre Bragg grating force sensor
SourceMedical Engineering & Physics, 35, 4, (2013), pp. 486-499
Article / Letter to editor
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Medical Engineering & Physics
SubjectNCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue
MRI is an ideal method for non-invasive soft tissue mechanical properties investigation. This requires mechanical excitation of the body's tissues and measurement of the corresponding boundary conditions such as soft tissue deformation inside the MRI environment. However, this is technically difficult since load application and measurement of boundary conditions requires MRI compatible actuators and sensors. This paper describes a novel MRI compatible computer controlled soft tissue indentor and optical Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) force sensor. The high acquisition rate (100Hz) force sensor was calibrated for forces up to 15N and demonstrated a maximum error of 0.043N. Performance and MRI compatibility of the devices was verified using indentation tests on a silicone gel phantom and the upper arm of a volunteer. The computer controlled indentor provided a highly repeatable tissue deformation. Since the indentor and force sensor are composed of non-ferromagnetic materials, they are MRI compatible and no artefacts or temporal SNR reductions were observed. In a phantom study the mean and standard deviation of the temporal SNR levels without the indentor present were 500.18 and 207.08, respectively. With the indentor present the mean and standard deviation were 501.95 and 200.45, respectively. This computer controlled MRI compatible soft tissue indentation system with an integrated force sensor has a broad range of applications and will be used in the future for the non-invasive analysis of the mechanical properties of skeletal muscle tissue.
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