Real-Time Quantitative Elasticity Imaging of Deep Tissue Using Free-Hand Conventional Ultrasound
In this article an ultrasound elastography technology is reported which provides quantitative images of tissue elasticity from deep soft tissue. The technique is analogous to Magnetic Resonance Elastography in the use of external mechanical vibrations which can penetrate deep tissue. Multifrequency steady-state mechanical vibrations are applied to the tissue at the skin and tissue displacements are measured by a conventional ultrasound system. Absolute values of tissue elasticity are computed in real-time for each frequency and displayed to the physician. The quantitative elasticity images produced by the technology are validated with magnetic resonance elastography images as the gold standard on standard elasticity phantoms. Preliminary in-vivo data from healthy volunteers are presented which show the potential of the technology for clinical use. The system is currently being used in different clinical studies to image kidney fibrosis, liver fibrosis, and prostate cancer.
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