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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Speckle tracking for 3D freehand ultrasound reconstruction Narges, Afsham


The idea of full six degree-of-freedom tracking of ultrasound images solely based on speckle information has been a long term research goal. It would eliminate the need for any additional tracking hardware and reduces cost and complexity of ultrasound imaging system, while providing the benefits of three-dimensional imaging. Despite its significant promise, speckle tracking has proven challenging due to several reasons including the dependency on a rare kind of speckle pattern in real tissue, underestimation in the presence of coherency or specular reflection, ultrasound beam profile spatial variations, need for RF (Radio Frequency) data, and artifacts produced by out-of-plane rotation. So, there is a need to improve the utility of freehand ultrasound in clinics by developing techniques to tackle these challenges and evaluate the applicability of the proposed methods for clinical use. We introduce a model-fitting method of speckle tracking based on the Rician Inverse Gaussian (RiIG) distribution. We derive a closed-form solution of the correlation coefficient of such a model, necessary for speckle tracking. In this manner, it is possible to separate the effect of the coherent and the non-coherent part of each patch. We show that this will increase the accuracy of the out-of-plane motion estimation. We also propose a regression-based model to compensate for the spatial changes of the beam profile. Although RiIG model fitting increases the accuracy, it is only applicable on ultrasound sampled RF data and computationally expensive. We propose a new framework to extract speckle/noise directly from B-mode images and perform speckle tracking on the extracted noise. To this end, we investigate and develop Non-Local Means (NLM) denoising algorithm based on a prior noise formation model. Finally, in order to increase the accuracy of the 6-DoF transform estimation, we propose a new iterative NLM denoising filter for the previously introduced RiIG model based on a new NLM similarity measure definition. The local estimation of the displacements are aggregated using Stein’s Unbiased Risk Estimate (SURE) over the entire image. The proposed filter-based speckle tracking algorithm has been evaluated in a set of ex vivo and in vivo experiments.

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