Purpose: Recent theories examine the role of the fractal branching vasculature as a primary site of Born scattering from soft normal tissues. These derivations postulate that the first-order statistics of speckle from soft tissue, such as the liver, thyroid, and prostate, will follow a Burr distribution with a power law parameter that can be related back to the underlying power law, which governs the branching network. However, the issue of scatterer spacing, or the number of cylindrical vessels per sample volume of the interrogating pulse, has not been directly addressed.
Approach: Speckle statistics are examined with a 3D simulation that varies the number density and the governing power law parameter of an ensemble of different sized cylinders. Several in vivo liver scans are also analyzed for confirmation across different conditions.
Results: The Burr distribution is found to be an appropriate model for the histogram of amplitudes from speckle regions, where the parameters track the underlying power law and scatterer density conditions. These results are also tested in a more general model of rat liver scans in normal versus abnormal conditions, and the resulting Burr parameters are also found to be appropriate and sensitive to underlying scatterer distributions.
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that the classical Burr distribution may be useful in the quantification of scattering of ultrasound from soft vascularized tissues and as a tool in tissue characterization.