What challenges must be overcome before ultrasound elasticity imaging is ready for the clinic?
Ultrasound elasticity imaging has been a research interest for the past 20 years with the goal of generating novel images of soft tissues based on their material properties (i.e., stiffness and viscosity). The motivation for such an imaging modality lies in the fact that many soft tissues can share similar ultrasonic echogenicities, but may have very different mechanical properties that can be used to clearly visualize normal anatomy and delineate diseased tissues and masses. Recently, 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 ultrasonic elasticity imaging are beginning to appear on the market. This article provides a foundation for elasticity imaging, an overview of current research and commercial realizations of elasticity imaging technology and a perspective on the current successes, limitations and potential for improvement of these imaging technologies.
Palmeri, ML; Nightingale, KR
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