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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1999 Jul;25(6):889-94.

Clinical use of ultrasound tissue harmonic imaging.

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CHU Bretonneau, Tours, France.


The recent introduction of tissue harmonic imaging could resolve the problems related to ultrasound in technically difficult patients by providing a marked improvement in image quality. Tissue harmonics are generated during the transmit phase of the pulse-echo cycle, that is, while the transmitted pulse propagates through tissue. Tissue harmonic images are formed by utilizing the harmonic signals that are generated by tissue and by filtering out the fundamental echo signals that are generated by the transmitted acoustic energy. To achieve this, two processes could be used; one by using filters for fundamental and harmonic imaging and the second using two simultaneous pulses with a 180 degrees difference in phase. The introduction of harmonics allows increased penetration without a loss of detail, by obtaining a clearer image at depth with significantly less compromise to the image quality caused by the use of lower frequencies. This imaging mode could be used in different organs with a heightening of low-contrast lesions through artefact reduction, as well as by the induced greater intrinsic contrast sensitivity of the harmonic imaging mode.

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