Method for measuring tissue stiffness using multi-resolution approach to ultrasonic shear wave imaging
Mechanical properties of biological tissue, such as elasticity, are a strong indicator of the state of tissue health. Accurate assessment of these properties is invaluable for early detection, diagnosis and prognosis of diseases such as cancer and fibrosis. In the last two decades, ultrasound shear wave elastography imaging (SWEI) has emerged as a promising imaging tool that is capable of directly and noninvasively measure tissue stiffness. The basic principle of SWEI relies on the generation of shear waves in the tissue of interest and subsequently the analysis of their propagation by ultrasonic echolocation. The method has shown success in clinical applications such as early breast cancer detection and liver diseases, skin diseases and heart echocardiography. However, current methods require a trade-off between analyzing larger regions of interest and improving resolution. There is a need for novel methods that overcome these technical challenges to provide high resolution maps of tissue elasticity.
Dr. Peter Hollender and Dr. Nicholas Bottegus at the Duke University Department of Biomedical Engineering have developed a robust method for analyzing tissue elasticity intended to be used with commercially available ultrasound scanners. This technology performs multi-resolution tissue imaging and analysis to reconstruct tissue mechanical properties. The method uses an acoustic radiation force pulse generator, ultrasonic transducer array with multiple elements at multiple positions, a corresponding array of multiple signal detectors at plurality of positions, and a sophisticated algorithm to analyze data from multiple detectors. The multi-resolution signals are then reconstructed to generate a noise-robust, high-resolution image of the mechanical parameter of the tissue. All steps of this process are computer controlled with a software adaptable to a variety of scenarios.
- Non-invasive measurement of living tissue stiffness
- Generates noise-robust, high-resolution, real-time elastography images
- Demonstrates the quality and diagnostic usefulness of shear wave images