Investigation of real-time remote palpation imaging
We are investigating a novel ultrasonic method for remote palpation, which provides images of local variations in tissue stiffness. Acoustic radiation force is applied to small volumes of tissue, and the resulting displacement patterns are imaged using ultrasonic correlation based techniques. Tissue displacements are inversely proportional to tissue stiffness, thus a stiffer region of tissue exhibits smaller displacements than a more compliant region. This method also provides information about tissue recovery after force cessation. We will present in vivo experimental results demonstrating the feasibility of this method. Using intensities ranging from 120 to 300 W/cm2, peak displacements of up to 50 microns were observed after 1.4 milliseconds of force application. The tissue moved to its peak displacement within 3 milliseconds of force application, and the time constants for tissue recovery varied with tissue type. Tissue displacements appeared to be correlated with tissue structure in matched B-mode images. To our knowledge, these results represent the first in vivo soft tissue images generated using radiation force. These findings support the feasibility of Remote Palpation imaging. We will discuss the technical, safety, and clinical challenges of implementing a real-time Remote Palpation imaging system on a commercial diagnostic scanner.
Nightingale, KR; Soo, MS; Nightingale, RW; Trahey, GE
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