The tissue diagnostic instrument

Paul Hansma, Hongmei Yu, David Schultz, Azucena Rodriguez, Eugene A. Yurtsev, Jessica Orr, Simon Tang, Jon Miller, Joseph Wallace, Frank Zok, Cheng Li, Richard Souza, Alexander Proctor, Davis Brimer, Xavier Nogues-Solan, Leonardo Mellbovsky, M. Jesus Pea, Oriol Diez-Ferrer, Phillip Mathews, Connor RandallAlfred Kuo, Carol Chen, Mathilde Peters, David Kohn, Jenni Buckley, Xiaojuan Li, Lisa Pruitt, Adolfo Diez-Perez, Tamara Alliston, Valerie Weaver, Jeffrey Lotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Tissue mechanical properties reflect extracellular matrix composition and organization, and as such, their changes can be a signature of disease. Examples of such diseases include intervertebral disk degeneration, cancer, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and tooth decay. Here we introduce the tissue diagnostic instrument (TDI), a device designed to probe the mechanical properties of normal and diseased soft and hard tissues not only in the laboratory but also in patients. The TDI can distinguish between the nucleus and the annulus of spinal disks, between young and degenerated cartilage, and between normal and cancerous mammary glands. It can quantify the elastic modulus and hardness of the wet dentin left in a cavity after excavation. It can perform an indentation test of bone tissue, quantifying the indentation depth increase and other mechanical parameters. With local anesthesia and disposable, sterile, probe assemblies, there has been neither pain nor complications in tests on patients. We anticipate that this unique device will facilitate research on many tissue systems in living organisms, including plants, leading to new insights into disease mechanisms and methods for their early detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054303
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


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