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Elastography is a medical imaging modality that maps the elastic properties of soft tissue. The main idea is that whether the tissue is hard or soft will give diagnostic information about the presence or status of disease. For example, cancerous tumours will often be harder than the surrounding tissue, and diseased livers are stiffer than healthy ones. Elastography is used for the investigation of many disease conditions in many organs. It can be used for additional diagnostic information compared to a mere anatomical image, and it can be used to guide biopsies or, increasingly, replace them entirely. Biopsies are invasive and painful, presenting a risk of infection, whereas elastography is completely noninvasive.

Elastography is used to investigate disease in the liver. Liver stiffness is usually indicative of fibrosis or steatosis, which are in turn indicative of numerous disease conditions, including cirrhosis and hepatitis. Elastography is particularly advantageous in this case because when fibrosis is diffuse, a biopsy can easily miss sampling the diseased tissue, which results in a misdiagnosis.

Naturally, elastography sees use for organs and diseases where manual palpation was already widespread. Elastography in medicine is used for detection and diagnosis of breast, thyroid and prostate cancers. Certain types of elastography are also suitable for musculoskeletal imaging, and they can determine the mechanical properties and state of muscles and tendons.

In veterinary medicine elastography is used for the examination of soft tissue mass, thyroid, tendons and muscles. Liver and other abdominal organs are also examined via elastography.