The challenge of ultrasound tomography in the presence of high impedance contrast is well known. We have successfully used full 3D transmission inverse scattering and refraction corrected reflection tomography to create 3D high-resolution images of the human breast. However, these tissues do not encompass the high contrast that occurs in orthopaedics scenarios, such as the human knee, where cranial and trabecular bone are present. Even though the high contrast of the bone is problematic for model based iterative reconstruction methods, we successfully image the tissue near, and in, the Femur-Tibia (F-T) space using an adapted QT Ultrasound Scanner and adapted inverse scattering algorithm.
We show preliminary reconstructions of a cadaver knee that indicates that we can quantitatively and accurately image proximal soft tissue structures. We give correlations between MR images and QT Ultrasound transmission images that show correlation with known structures: besides the femur, tibia, and fibula, we see the condyle structures (medial and lateral), medial and lateral menisci internal to the F-T space, collateral ligaments, infrapatellar fat pad (Hoffa’s pad), patellar ligament, and various ligaments, tendons and musculature in the leg above and below the knee.
We establish that a substantially different reconstruction protocol (than that of the breast) for 3D inverse scattering is required to obtain these images and we discuss the implications of these changes. These preliminary results show that high resolution of clinically relevant tissue is feasible with ultrasound tomography even within the F-T space.