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Noninvasive temperature imaging would enhance the ability to uniformly heat tumors at therapeutic levels. Ultrasound is an attractive modality for this purpose. Previously, we predicted monotonic changes in backscattered energy (CBE) of ultrasound with temperature for certain subwavelength scatterers. We also measured CBE values similar to our predictions in bovine liver, turkey breast, and pork muscle in one dimension (1-D). Those measurements were corrected manually for changes in the axial position of echo signals with temperature. To investigate the effect of temperature on CBE in 2-D, we imaged 1-cm thick samples of bovine liver, turkey breast, and pork muscle during heating in a water bath. Images were formed by a phased-array imager with a 7 MHz linear probe. Using radio frequency (R-F) signals permitted the use of cross correlation as a similarity measure for automatic tracking of feature displacement as a function of temperature. Feature displacement across the specimen was nonuniform with typical total displacements of 0.5 mm in both axial and lateral directions. Apparent movement in eight image regions in each specimen was tracked from 37 to 50/spl deg/C in 0.5/spl deg/C steps. Envelopes of motion-compensated image regions were found then smoothed with a 3 /spl times/ 3 running average filter before forming the backscattered energy at each pixel. Our measure of CBE compared means of both the positive and negative changes in the backscattered energy (BE) images. CBE was monotonic and differed by about 4 dB at 50/spl deg/C from its value at 37/spl deg/C. Relatively noise-free CBE curves from tissue volumes of less than 1 cm/sup 3/ supports the; use of CBE for temperature estimation.