Mechanical Imaging is a modality of medical diagnostics based on reconstruction of tissue structure and viscoelastic properties using mechanical sensors. The essence of MI is the solution to an inverse problem using the data of stress patterns on the surface of tissue compressed by a pressure sensor array. Imaged tissue structures are presented in terms of their viscoelastic properties. Evaluation of tissue ‘hardness’ (shear elasticity modulus) provides a means for characterizing the tissue, differentiating normal and diseased conditions and detecting tumors and other lesions. A key feature of Mechanical Imaging is ‘knowledge-based imaging’.

Tactile Imaging is a medical imaging modality translating the sense of touch into a digital image. Tactile image is a function of P(x,y,z), where P is the pressure on soft tissue surface under applied deformation and x,y,z are coordinates where pressure P was measured. The tactile image is a pressure map on which the direction of tissue deformation must be specified.

Example of 3-D reconstruction for the phantom internal mechanical structure

Dr. A. Sarvazyan, Chief Scientific Officer of Artann, started developing Mechanical Imaging technology in the late 80s. In 1992, he filed the first USA patent on MI. Artann has been advancing the MI technology since its inception in 1995. Till now, MI is one of the main areas of research activities of Artann. Artann scientists are the first in the world to introduce and develop MI technology for various applications, as described in numerous scientific publications and 21 issued patents. With the support of numerous NIH SBIR grants, Artann has developed several generations of devices for prostate imaging, performing and documenting breast examination, vaginal examination, and imaging of myofascial trigger points in muscle.

Mechanical properties of tissues, i.e. Young’s modulus and viscosity, are highly sensitive to tissue structural changes accompanying various physiological and pathological processes. A change in Young’s modulus of tissue during the development of a tumor could reach thousands of percent.

Selected Publications and Patents
  1. Sarvazyan A., Egorov V. Mechanical imaging - a technology for 3-D visualization and characterization of soft tissue abnormalities: A Review. Current Medical Imaging Reviews 2012; 8(1): 64-73.
  2. Sarvazyan A, Egorov V, and Sarvazyan N. Tactile Sensing and Tactile Imaging in Detection of Cancer, book chapter In: Biosensors and Molecular Technologies for Cancer Diagnostics, edited by Keith E. Harold, CRC Press, May 29, 2012: 337-52.
  3. Sarvazyan AP: Mechanical imaging: a new technology for medical diagnostics. Int J Med Inf 1998, 49: 195-216.
  4. Egorov V, Sarvazyan AP, Method of characterization and differentiation of tissue. USA Patent 8,142,368; March 27, 2012.
  5. Egorov V, Sarvazyan AP, Patel M. Tactile sensor array for soft tissue elasticity imaging. USA Patent 8,069,735; December 6, 2011.
  6. Sarvazyan AP, Egorov V, Human tissue phantoms and methods for manufacturing thereof. USA Patent 7,419,376, Sep 2, 2008.
  7. Sarvazyan AP, Skovoroda AR. Method and apparatus for elasticity imaging. USA Patent 5,524,636 1996.