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Published June 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Quantitative photoacoustic elastography in humans


We report quantitative photoacoustic elastography (QPAE) capable of measuring Young's modulus of biological tissue in vivo in humans. By combining conventional PAE with a stress sensor having known stress–strain behavior, QPAE can simultaneously measure strain and stress, from which Young's modulus is calculated. We first demonstrate the feasibility of QPAE in agar phantoms with different concentrations. The measured Young's modulus values fit well with both the empirical expectation based on the agar concentrations and those measured in an independent standard compression test. Next, QPAE was applied to quantify the Young's modulus of skeletal muscle in vivo in humans, showing a linear relationship between muscle stiffness and loading. The results demonstrated the capability of QPAE to assess the absolute elasticity of biological tissue noninvasively in vivo in humans, indicating its potential for tissue biomechanics studies and clinical applications.

Additional Information

© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. Paper 160214LRR received Apr. 2, 2016; accepted for publication May 31, 2016; published online Jun. 15, 2016. The authors appreciate Professor James Ballard's close reading of this paper. This work was sponsored by the March of Dimes Foundation Grant No. 22FY14486 and the National Institutes of Health Grant Nos. DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), and S10 RR026922. L. Gong acknowledges the support from the China Scholarship Council (Grant No. 201506340017). L. V. Wang has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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