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MRI Measurement of Abdominal Wall Muscle Compliance for Surgical Planning and Outcome Prediction


A device and imaging method for non-invasive measurement of abdominal muscle elasticity and pre-operative prediction of successful hernia repair



Two million abdominal surgeries are performed annually in the United States. Ventral hernia is one of the most common and serious post-operative complications with an incidence of approximately 13% amongst patients undergoing abdominal operations.


Despite advances in medical imaging, pre and post-operative assessment of the abdomen and hernia repair currently relies on basic clinical evaluation of patients. However, clinical assessment poorly predicts the outcome of hernia repair surgeries. Failed repairs generate un-closable midline defects; these defects require additional surgery to reconstruct the abdominal wall using a synthetic mesh. The procedure is expensive and carries a risk of chronic infection and additional complications.



To better identify patients at risk for developing a hernia pre or post abdominal surgery, we have created a predictive method centered on abdominal muscle mechanical properties.  This method uses magnetic resonance (MR) tissue-tagging in combination with an MR-compatible device that deforms the abdominal wall muscle synchronous with the imaging cycle.


MR tissue-tagging is an imaging method that uses RF pulses to create a visible grid on organs undergoing cyclic motion to visualize the tissue deformation, which can then be used to compute the elastic properties of the abdominal muscle. This method has the potential to be used before the hernia repair surgery to determine the optimum hernia repair procedure and after surgery to predict repair outcome in patients.




  • Measuring abdominal muscle deformation and elasticity
  • Predicting ventral hernia development in patients


  • Non-invasive assessment of muscle abdominal muscle compliance
  • Usable with any conventional MRI scanner
  • More accurate prediction of failed hernia repair than conventional clinical methods
  • Early prediction of failed hernia repair surgery  can prevent later complex surgery

Stage of Development:  

  • Prototype developed
  • In-vivo experiments on healthy subjects have been performed
  • Inventors propose to conduct additional in-vivo testing in hernia repair patients for validation

Intellectual Property:

Provisional Application Filed


Reference Media:

Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Co-development

Docket # 18-8518

Patent Information:
Medical Devices
For Information, Contact:
Jeffrey James
Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
Lawrence Dougherty
Anil Chauhan
James Pilla