A method of imaging viscoelastic parameters with acoustic radiation force.
Acoustic radiation force has been proposed as a method of interrogating the mechanical properties of tissue. One simple approach applies a series of focused ultrasonic pulses to generate an acoustic radiation force, then processes the echoes returned from these pulses to estimate the radiation-force-induced displacement as a function of time. This process can be repeated at a number of locations to acquire data for image formation. In previous work we have formed images of tissue stiffness by depicting the maximum displacement induced at each tissue location after a finite period of insonification. While these maximum displacement images are able to differentiate materials of disparate mechanical properties, they exploit only a fraction of the information available. In this paper we show that the time-displacement curves acquired from tissue mimicking phantoms exhibit a viscoelastic response which is accurately described by the Voigt model. We describe how the viscous and elastic parameters of this model may be determined from experimental data. Finally, we show phantom images that depict not only the maximum local displacement, but also the viscous and elastic model parameters. These images offer complementary information about the target.
Walker, WF; Fernandez, FJ; Negron, LA
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