Three-dimensional ultrasonic Nakagami imaging for tissue characterization
Physics in Medicine and Biology
The two-dimensional (2D) Nakagami image complements the ultrasound B-scan image when attempting to visualize the scatterer properties of tissues. The resolution of the Nakagami image is lower than that of the B-scan image, since the former is produced by processing the raw envelope data using a 2D sliding window with side lengths typically corresponding to three times the pulse length of the incident ultrasound. This paper proposes using three-dimensional (3D) Nakagami imaging for improving the
... resolution of the obtained Nakagami image and providing more complete information of scatterers for a better tissue characterization. The 3D Nakagami image is based on a voxel array composed of the Nakagami parameters constructed using a 3D sliding cube to process the 3D backscattered raw data. Experiments on phantoms with different scatterer concentrations were carried out to determine the optimal size of the sliding cube for a stable estimation of the Nakagami parameter. Tissue measurements on rat livers without and with fibrosis formation were further used to explore the practical feasibility of 3D Nakagami imaging. The results indicated that the side length of the cube used to construct the 3D Nakagami image must be at least two times the pulse length, which improved the resolution for each Nakagami image frame in the 3D Nakagami image. The results further demonstrated that the 3D Nakagami image is better than the conventional 2D Nakagami image for complementing the B-scan 0031-9155/10/195849+18$30.00 © 2010 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine Printed in the UK 5849 5850 P-H Tsui et al in detecting spatial variations in the scatterer concentration and classifying normal and fibrotic livers. This study suggests that 3D Nakagami imaging has the potential to become a new 3D quantitative imaging approach.