Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging: in vivo demonstration of clinical feasibility.
The clinical viability of a method of acoustic remote palpation, capable of imaging local variations in the mechanical properties of soft tissue using acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging, is investigated in vivo. In this method, focused ultrasound (US) is used to apply localized radiation force to small volumes of tissue (2 mm(3)) for short durations (less than 1 ms) and the resulting tissue displacements are mapped using ultrasonic correlation-based methods. The tissue displacements are inversely proportional to the stiffness of the tissue and, thus, a stiffer region of tissue exhibits smaller displacements than a more compliant region. Due to the short duration of the force application, this method provides information about the mechanical impulse response of the tissue, which reflects variations in tissue viscoelastic characteristics. In this paper, experimental results are presented demonstrating that displacements on the order of 10 microm can be generated and detected in soft tissues in vivo using a single transducer on a modified diagnostic US scanner. Differences in the magnitude of displacement and the transient response of tissue are correlated with tissue structures in matched B-mode images. The results comprise the first in vivo ARFI images, and support the clinical feasibility of a radiation force-based remote palpation imaging system.
Nightingale, K; Soo, MS; Nightingale, R; Trahey, G
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