Review Article

Journal of Medical Ultrasonics

, 29:155

First online:

Elastography: Imaging the elastic properties of soft tissues with ultrasound

  • Jonathan OphirAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonDepartment of ECE, The University of Houston
  • , S. Kaisar AlamAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonRiverside Research Institute
  • , Brian S. GarraAffiliated withFletcher Allen Medical Center, University of Vermont
  • , Faouzi KallelAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at Houston
  • , Elisa E. KonofagouAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonBrigham and Women's Hospital
  • , Thomas KrouskopAffiliated withBaylor College of Medicine
  • , Christopher R. B. MerrittAffiliated withThomas Jefferson University
  • , Raffaella RighettiAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonDepartment of ECE, The University of Houston
  • , Remi SouchonAffiliated withl'Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) Unité 556
    • , Seshadri SrinivasanAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonDepartment of ECE, The University of Houston
    • , Tomy VargheseAffiliated withThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonUniversity of Wisconsin

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Abstract

Elastography is a method that can ultimately generate several new kinds of images, called elastograms. As such, all the properties of elastograms are different from the familiar properties of sonograms. While sonograms convey information related to the local acoustic backscatter energy from tissue components, elastograms relate to its local strains, Young's moduli or Poisson's ratios. In general, these elasticity parameters are not directly correlated with sonographic parameters, i.e. elastography conveys new information about internal tissue structure and behavior under load that is not otherwise obtainable. In this paper we summarize our work in the field of elastography over the past decade. We present some relevant background material from the field of biomechanics. We then discuss the basic principles and limitations that are involved in the production of elastograms of biological tissues. Results from biological tissues in vitro and in vivo are shown to demonstrate this point. We conclude with some observations regarding the potential of elastography for medical diagnosis.

Keywords

elastography ultrasound