Skip to Main Content
The attenuation coefficient distribution and sound velocity distribution in the breast can be used to complement B-mode ultrasound imaging in the detection of breast cancer. This study investigated an approach for reconstructing the attenuation coefficient distribution in the breast using a linear array. The imaging setup was identical to that for conventional B-mode breast imaging, and the same setup has been used for reconstruction of sound velocity distributions in previous studies. In this study, we further developed a reconstruction method for the attenuation coefficient distribution. In particular, the proposed method incorporates the segmentation information from B-mode images and uses the sound velocity distribution to compensate for refraction effects. Experiments were conducted with a setup consisting of a 5-MHz, 128-channel linear array, a programmable digital array system, a phantom, and a computer. The constructed phantom contained materials mimicking the following breast tissues: glandular tissue, fat, cysts, high-attenuation tumors, and irregular tumors. Application of the proposed technique resulted in all the cysts and tumors (including high-attenuation arid irregular tumors) being distinguished by thresholding the reconstructed attenuation coefficients. We have demonstrated that it is possible to use the same imaging setup to acquire data for B-mode image, sound velocity distribution, and attenuation coefficient distribution simultaneously. Moreover, the experimental data indicate its potential in improving the detection of breast cancer.