Elastography is an ultrasound method of measuring the elasticity and hardness of tissues.
It is an extension of the ultrasound image and adds to the ultrasound a new dimension of tissue study.
Elastography-based imaging techniques have received substantial attention in recent years for non-invasive assessment of tissue mechanical properties. These techniques take advantage of changed soft tissue elasticity in various pathologies to yield qualitative and quantitative information that can be used for diagnostic purposes.
Ultrasound-based methods are of particular interest due to its many inherent advantages, such as wide availability including at the bedside and relatively low cost. Several ultrasound elastography techniques using different excitation methods have been developed.
In general, these can be classified into strain imaging methods that use internal or external compression stimuli, and shear wave imaging that use ultrasound-generated traveling shear wave stimuli. While ultrasound elastography has shown promising results for non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis, new applications in breast, thyroid, prostate, kidney and lymph node imaging are emerging.