The Impact of Acoustic Clutter on Large Array Abdominal Imaging.
Abdominal imaging suffers from a particularly difficult acoustic environment-targets are located deep and overlying tissue layers with varying properties generate acoustic clutter. Increasing array size can overcome the penetration and lateral resolution problems in ideal conditions, but how the impact of clutter scales with increasing array extent is unknown and may limit the benefits in vivo. Previous ex vivo experimental work showed the promise of large arrays but was technically limited to a length of 6.4 cm and to only partial sampling of the array elements. We present an extension of those studies using the Fullwave simulation tool to create a 10 cm ×2 cm matrix array with full lateral element sampling. We used a numerical model of the abdomen based on the maps of tissue acoustical properties and found that propagation through the modeled abdominal layers generated on average 25.4 ns of aberration and 0.74 cm of reverberation clutter across the array extent. Growing the full aperture from 2 to 10 cm improved contrast by 8.6 dB and contrast-to-noise ratio by 22.9% in addition to significantly improving target resolution. Alternative array strategies that may be useful for implementation-mismatched aperture sizes or a swept synthetic aperture-also produced improved quality with growing aperture size. These results motivate the development of larger diagnostic imaging arrays for the purpose of high-resolution imaging in challenging environments.
Bottenus, N; Pinton, GF; Trahey, G
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