• MR-elastography;
  • breast cancer;
  • anisotropy;
  • viscosity;
  • steady-state


MR-elastography is a new technique for assessing the viscoelastic properties of tissue. One current focus of elastography is the provision of new physical parameters for improving the specificity in breast cancer diagnosis. This analysis describes a technique to extend the reconstruction to anisotropic elastic properties in terms of a so-called transversely isotropic model. Viscosity is treated as being isotropic. The particular model chosen for the anisotropy is appealing because it is capable of describing elastic shear anisotropy of parallel fibers. The dependence of the reconstruction on the particular choice of Poisson's ratio is eliminated by extracting the compressional displacement contribution using the Helmholtz–Hodge decomposition. Results are presented for simulations, a polyvinyl alcohol breast phantom, excised beef muscle, and measurements in two patients with breast lesions (invasive ductal carcinoma and fibroadenoma). The results show enhanced anisotropic and viscous properties inside the lesions and an indication for preferred fiber orientation. Magn Reson Med 53:372–387, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.