Blocked Elements in 1-D and 2-D Arrays-Part I: Detection and Basic Compensation on Simulated and In Vivo Targets.
During a transcostal ultrasound scan, ribs and other highly attenuating and/or reflective tissue structures can block parts of the array. Blocked elements tend to limit the acoustic window and impede visualization of structures of interest. Here, we demonstrate a method to detect blocked elements and we measure the loss of image quality they introduce in simulation and in vivo. We utilize a fullwave simulation tool and a clinical ultrasound scanner to obtain element signals from fully sampled matrix arrays during simulated and in vivo transcostal liver scans, respectively. The elements that were blocked by a rib showed lower average signal amplitude and lower average nearest-neighbor cross correlation than the elements in the remainder of the 2-D aperture. The growing receive-aperture B-mode images created from the element data indicate that the signals on blocked elements are dominated by noise and that turning them OFF has a potential to improve visibility of liver vasculature. Adding blocked elements to the growing receive apertures for five in vivo transcostal acquisitions resulted in average decrease in vessel contrast and contrast to noise ratio of 19% and 10%, respectively.
Jakovljevic, M; Pinton, GF; Dahl, JJ; Trahey, GE
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