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The use of ultrasonic methods to track the tissue deformation generated by acoustic radiation force is subject to jitter and displacement underestimation errors, with displacement underestimation being primarily caused by lateral and elevation shearing within the point spread function (PSF) of the ultrasonic beam. Models have been developed using finite element methods and Field II, a linear acoustic field simulation package, to study the impact of focal configuration, tracking frequency, and material properties on the accuracy of ultrasonically tracking the tissue deformation generated by acoustic radiation force excitations. These models demonstrate that lateral and elevation shearing underneath the PSF of the tracking beam leads to displacement underestimation in the focal zone. Displacement underestimation can be reduced by using tracking beams that are narrower than the spatial extent of the displacement fields. Displacement underestimation and jitter decrease with time after excitation as shear wave propagation away from the region of excitation reduces shearing in the lateral and elevation dimensions. The use of higher tracking frequencies in broadband transducers, along with 2D focusing in the elevation dimension, will reduce jitter and improve displacement tracking accuracy. Relative displacement underestimation remains constant as a function of applied force, whereas jitter increases with applied force. Underdeveloped speckle (SNR < 1.91) leads to greater levels of jitter and peak displacement underestimation. Axial shearing is minimal over the tracking kernel lengths used in acoustic radiation force impulse imaging and thus does not impact displacement tracking.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:53 , Issue: 7 )
Date of Publication: July 2006