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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Three dimensional ultrasound elasticity imaging Abeysekera, Jeffrey Michael


Changes in tissue elasticity are correlated with certain pathological changes, such as localized stiffening of malignant tumours or diffuse stiffening of liver fibrosis or placenta dysfunction. Elastography is a field of medical imaging that characterizes the mechanical properties of tissue, such as elasticity and viscosity. The elastography process involves deforming the tissue, measuring the tissue motion using an imaging technique such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and solving the equations of motion. Ultrasound is well suited for elastography, however, it presents challenges such as anisotropic measurement accuracy and providing two dimensional (2D) measurements rather than three dimensional (3D). This thesis focuses on overcoming some of these limitations by improving upon methods of imaging absolute elasticity using 3D ultrasound. In this thesis, techniques are developed for 3D ultrasound acquired from transducers fitted with a motor to sweep the image plane, however many of the techniques can be applied to other forms of 3D acquisition such as matrix arrays. First, a flexible framework for 3D ultrasound elastography system is developed. The system allows for comparison and in depth analysis of errors in current state of the art 3D ultrasound shear wave absolute vibro-elastography (SWAVE). The SWAVE system is then used to measure the viscoelastic properties of placentas, which could be clinically valuable in diagnosing preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. A novel 3D ultrasound calibration technique is developed which estimates the transducer motor parameters for accurate determination of location and orientation of every data sample, as well as for enabling position tracking of a 3D ultrasound transducer so multiple volumes can be combined. Another calibration technique using assumed motor parameters is developed, and an improvement to an existing N-wire method is presented. The SWAVE research system is extended to measure shear wave motion vectors with a new acquisition scheme to create synchronous volumes of ultrasound data. Regularization based on tissue incompressibility is used to reduce noise in the motion measurements. Lastly, multiple ultrasound volumes from different angles are combined for measurement of the full motion vector, and demonstrating accurate reconstructions of elasticity are feasible using the techniques developed in this thesis.

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