Elasticity imaging methods have been used to study tissue mechanical properties and have demonstrated that tissue elasticity changes with disease state. In current shear wave elasticity imaging methods typically only shear wave speed is measured and rheological models, e.g. KelvinVoigt, Maxwell and Standard Linear Solid, are used to solve for tissue mechanical properties such as the shear viscoelastic complex modulus. This paper presents a method to quantify viscoelastic material properties in a model-independent way by estimating the complex shear elastic modulus over a wide frequency range using time-dependent creep response induced by acoustic radiation force. This radiation force induced creep method uses a conversion formula that is the analytic solution of a constitutive equation. The proposed method in combination with shearwave dispersion ultrasound vibrometry is used to measure the complex modulus so that knowledge of the applied radiation force magnitude is not necessary. The conversion formula is shown to be sensitive to sampling frequency and the first reliable measure in time according to numerical simulations using the KelvinVoigt model creep strain and compliance. Representative model-free shear complex moduli from homogeneous tissue mimicking phantoms and one excised swine kidney were obtained. This work proposes a novel model-free ultrasound-based elasticity method that does not require a rheological model with associated fitting requirements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging