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Quantitative 3-d diagnostic ultrasound imaging using a modified transducer array and an automated image tracking technique.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903, USA.


An approach for acquiring dimensionally accurate three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound data from multiple 2-D image planes is presented. This is based on the use of a modified linear-phased array comprising a central imaging array that acquires multiple, essentially parallel, 2-D slices as the transducer is translated over the tissue of interest. Small, perpendicularly oriented, tracking arrays are integrally mounted on each end of the imaging transducer. As the transducer is translated in an elevational direction with respect to the central imaging array, the images obtained by the tracking arrays remain largely coplanar. The motion between successive tracking images is determined using a minimum sum of absolute difference (MSAD) image matching technique with subpixel matching resolution. An initial phantom scanning-based test of a prototype 8 MHz array indicates that linear dimensional accuracy of 4.6% (2 sigma) is achievable. This result compares favorably with those obtained using an assumed average velocity [31.5% (2 sigma) accuracy] and using an approach based on measuring image-to-image decorrelation [8.4% (2 sigma) accuracy]. The prototype array and imaging system were also tested in a clinical environment, and early results suggest that the approach has the potential to enable a low cost, rapid, screening method for detecting carotid artery stenosis. The average time for performing a screening test for carotid stenosis was reduced from an average of 45 minutes using 2-D duplex Doppler to 12 minutes using the new 3-D scanning approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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