Refraction correction in 3D transcranial ultrasound imaging.
We present the first correction of refraction in three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound imaging using an iterative approach that traces propagation paths through a two-layer planar tissue model, applying Snell's law in 3D. This approach is applied to real-time 3D transcranial ultrasound imaging by precomputing delays offline for several skull thicknesses, allowing the user to switch between three sets of delays for phased array imaging at the push of a button. Simulations indicate that refraction correction may be expected to increase sensitivity, reduce beam steering errors, and partially restore lost spatial resolution, with the greatest improvements occurring at the largest steering angles. Distorted images of cylindrical lesions were created by imaging through an acrylic plate in a tissue-mimicking phantom. As a result of correcting for refraction, lesions were restored to 93.6% of their original diameter in the lateral direction and 98.1% of their original shape along the long axis of the cylinders. In imaging two healthy volunteers, the mean brightness increased by 8.3% and showed no spatial dependency.
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