Elastography can noninvasively map the elasticity distribution of biological tissue, which is often altered in pathological states. In this work, we report quantitative photoacoustic elastography (QPAE), capable of measuring Young’s modulus of human tissue in vivo. By combining photoacoustic elastography with a stress sensor having known stress-strain behavior, QPAE can simultaneously measure strain and stress, from which Young’s modulus is calculated. We first applied QPAE to quantify the Young’s modulus of tissue-mimicking agar phantoms with different concentrations. The measured values fitted well with both the empirical expectations based on the agar concentrations and those measured in independent standard compression tests. We then demonstrated the feasibility of QPAE by measuring the Young’s modulus of human skeletal muscle in vivo. The data showed a linear relationship between muscle stiffness and loading. The results proved that QPAE can noninvasively quantify the absolute elasticity of biological tissue, thus enabling longitudinal imaging of tissue elasticity. QPAE can be exploited for both preclinical biomechanics studies and clinical applications.
Pengfei Hai, Yong Zhou, Lei Gong, and Lihong V. Wang, "Quantitative photoacoustic elastography of Young’s modulus in humans," Proc. SPIE 10064, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2017, 100640B (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 3 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252790.
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