Acoustic radiation force-based elasticity imaging methods.
Conventional diagnostic ultrasound images portray differences in the acoustic properties of soft tissues, whereas ultrasound-based elasticity images portray differences in the elastic properties of soft tissues (i.e. stiffness, viscosity). The benefit of elasticity imaging lies in the fact that many soft tissues can share similar ultrasonic echogenicities, but may have different mechanical properties that can be used to clearly visualize normal anatomy and delineate pathological lesions. Acoustic radiation force-based elasticity imaging methods use acoustic radiation force to transiently deform soft tissues, and the dynamic displacement response of those tissues is measured ultrasonically and is used to estimate the tissue's mechanical properties. Both qualitative images and quantitative elasticity metrics can be reconstructed from these measured data, providing complimentary information to both diagnose and longitudinally monitor disease progression. Recently, acoustic radiation force-based elasticity imaging techniques have moved from the laboratory to the clinical setting, where clinicians are beginning to characterize tissue stiffness as a diagnostic metric, and commercial implementations of radiation force-based ultrasonic elasticity imaging are beginning to appear on the commercial market. This article provides an overview of acoustic radiation force-based elasticity imaging, including a review of the relevant soft tissue material properties, a review of radiation force-based methods that have been proposed for elasticity imaging, and a discussion of current research and commercial realizations of radiation force based-elasticity imaging technologies.
Palmeri, ML; Nightingale, KR
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