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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2007 Oct;33(10):1617-31. Epub 2007 Jul 2.

Congruence of imaging estimators and mechanical measurements of viscoelastic properties of soft tissues.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.


Biomechanical properties of soft tissues are important for a wide range of medical applications, such as surgical simulation and planning and detection of lesions by elasticity imaging modalities. Currently, the data in the literature is limited and conflicting. Furthermore, to assess the biomechanical properties of living tissue in vivo, reliable imaging-based estimators must be developed and verified. For these reasons, we developed and compared two independent quantitative methods--crawling wave estimator (CRE) and mechanical measurement (MM) for soft tissue characterization. The CRE method images shear wave interference patterns from which the shear wave velocity can be determined and hence the Young's modulus can be obtained. The MM method provides the complex Young's modulus of the soft tissue from which both elastic and viscous behavior can be extracted. This article presents the systematic comparison between these two techniques on the measurement of gelatin phantom, veal liver, thermal-treated veal liver and human prostate. It was observed that the Young's moduli of liver and prostate tissues slightly increase with frequency. The experimental results of the two methods are highly congruent, suggesting CRE and MM methods can be reliably used to investigate viscoelastic properties of other soft tissues, with CRE having the advantages of operating in nearly real time and in situ.

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