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9 May 2002 Accelerating ultrasonic strain reconstructions by introducing mechanical constraints
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Ultrasonic strain images describe the stiffness of soft tissues. Strain estimates are obtained from the spatial derivative of local displacements between echo fields acquired prior to and after applying a small compressive force. Multi-scale displacement measurements using correlation estimates yield the highest quality strain images but are computationally extensive. An approach to strain reconstruction is proposed that constrains the correlation search based on physical priors in order to accelerate and optimize the estimation of local displacements. The data correlation kernel is chosen large in regions of constant displacement to minimize noise and small in regions of varying displacement to maximize spatial resolution for strain. Multiple echo fields were acquired using a Siemens Elegra system with a 7.5 MHz linear array while slowly compressing phantoms and tissues. Gel phantoms with simulated stiff lesions and flow channels, as well as ex vivo muscle and in vivo breast tissues were examined. The new algorithm provided images with equal or lower noise as compared to the traditional algorithm. Adaptively limiting the search in smoothly compressed regions reduced computational time by a factor of 1.5 to 8 depending on the applied compression and complexity of motion.
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Claire J. M. Pellot-Barakat, Jerome J. Mai, Christian M. Kargel, Alain Herment, Birget Trummer, and Michael F. Insana "Accelerating ultrasonic strain reconstructions by introducing mechanical constraints", Proc. SPIE 4684, Medical Imaging 2002: Image Processing, (9 May 2002);

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