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The role of viscosity in the impulse diffraction field of elastic waves induced by the acoustic radiation force.

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Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique, E.S.P.C.I., C.N.R.S. UMR 7587, Université Paris VII, 75005 Paris, France.


Several ultrasound-based techniques for the estimation of soft tissue elasticity are currently being investigated. Most of them study the medium response to dynamic excitations. Such responses are usually modeled in a purely elastic medium using a Green's function solution of the motion equation. However, elasticity by itself is not necessarily a discriminant parameter for malignancy diagnosis. Modeling viscous properties of tissues could also be of great interest for tumor characterization. We report in this paper an explicit derivation of the Green's function in a viscous and elastic medium taking into account shear, bulk, and coupling waves. From this theoretical calculation, 3D simulations of mechanical waves in viscoelastic soft tissues are presented. The relevance of the viscoelastic Green's function is validated by comparing simulations with experimental data. The experiments were conducted using the supersonic shear imaging (SSI) technique which dynamically and remotely excites tissues using acoustic radiation force. We show that transient shear waves generated with SSI are modeled very precisely by the Green's function formalism. The combined influences of out-of-plane diffraction, beam shape, and shear viscosity on the shape of transient waves are carefully studied as they represent a major issue in ultrasound-based viscoelasticity imaging techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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