2022-063 – High Accuracy – High Resolution, Frictionless, Gravity Compensated Tissue Elastometer

In order to determine the best strategy for removing a tumor, information on its elasticity is needed. Current imaging techniques, including elastography and sonoelastography, measure elasticity approximately via tissue movements in response to compression and external vibrations. Despite their effectiveness further mechanisms to accurately and quantitatively measure elasticity are needed. The current approach for large scale determination is to directly measure Elasticity and/or Plasticity, with different tension/shear -based machines collectively refered to as Instron devices, which are very large and cumbersome and limited in resolution, eliminating potential use for smaller soft-tissue samples, with significantly lower values for elastic properties. Thus, there is a need for an enhanced elastometer or similar measuring device that can measure elasticity quantitatively and in smaller sample sizes for applications such as neurosurgery.

Technology Description
Researchers at the University of New Mexico have invented a tissue elastometer to accurately measure elastic as well as viscoelastic properties of soft tissue, including but not limited to the brain and tumors. In its core, this invention can be considered a miniature “Instron”. A novel combination of piezoelectric and magnetic actuation systems with displacement sensitive capacitors allows high resolution motion control and simultaneous, real-time, force/displacement measurement which directly translates to stress-strain measurement. The modular design allows sterilization of recycled parts that encounter patient tissue, while covering, sterilizing and reusing the other modules. A pneumatic system is designed and used to detect contact and seal formations between the device and tissue as well as to serve as a means to grab and pull tissue. Not only does this device allow static, semi-static measurements, but dynamic as well. Unlike other existing tools and reports, which provide device specific readings rather than a well-established material property, this invention makes it possible to directly report comparable well stablished material properties such as Young’s Modulus. This allows properties measured by this device to be comparable between labs and research groups all around the world. Such values are also directly usable by other specialties and basic science researchers.




  • Offers high resolution and accurate measurement of properties both in vivo and in situ, through real-time, force and deformation/displacement measurement
  • Provides static, semi-static, and dynamic measurements
  • Allows the surgeon to orient the device as needed without worrying about gravity and friction affecting the measurement
  • Easy to hold, use and manipulate during surgery even through miniature openings as encountered in neurosurgery
  • Device prevents movement or disassembly of free-floating members while the device is not powered
  • Promotes collaboration across specialties, by providing well-established material property readings not device specific readings

Potential Applications

  • Soft Tissue Analysis
    • Neurosurgery
    • Biomedical
  • Tumor Removal
  • Research Tool

Contact Information

Name: Gregg Banninger

Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908