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Elastography is a well-established imaging modality. While a number of studies aimed at evaluating the performance of elastographic techniques are retrievable in the literature, very little information is available on the effects that the presence of an underlying permeability contrast in the tissue may have on the resulting elastograms. Permeability is a fundamental tissue parameter, which characterizes the ease with which fluid can move within a tissue. This parameter plays a central role both biomechanically in the description of the temporal behavior of fluid-filled tissues and clinically in the development of a number of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. In this paper, we present a simulation study that investigates selected elastographic image quality factors in nonhomogeneous materials, modeled as poroelastic media with different geometries and permeability contrasts. The results of this study indicate that the presence of an underlying permeability contrast may create a new contrast mechanism in the spatial and temporal distributions of the axial strains and the effective Poisson's ratios experienced by the tissue and as imaged by the corresponding elastograms. The effect of permeability on the elastographic image quality factors analyzed in this study was found to be a nonsymmetric function of the underlying mechanical contrast between background and target, the geometry of the material and the boundary conditions.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013