Viscoelastic parameter estimation using simulated shear wave motion and convolutional neural networks

Luiz Vasconcelos, Piotr Kijanka, Matthew W. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE) techniques have been very useful for the analysis of tissue rheological properties, but there are still obstacles for robust evaluation of viscoelastic tissue properties. In this proof-of-concept study, we investigate whether convolutional neural networks (CNN) are capable of retrieving the elasticity and viscosity parameters from simulated shear wave motion images. Staggered-grid finite difference simulations based on a Kelvin-Voigt rheological model were used to generate data for this study. The wave motion datasets were created using Kelvin-Voigt shear elasticity values ranging from 1 to 25 kPa, shear viscosities ranging from 0 to 10 Pa⋅s, and two different push profiles using f-numbers of 1 and 2. The CNN architectures, optimized using mean squared error loss, were then trained to retrieve a specific viscoelastic parameter. Both elasticity and viscosity values were successfully retrieved, with regression R2 values above 0.99 when correlating the estimated mechanical properties versus the true mechanical properties. The CNN performance was also compared to estimation of shear elasticity and viscosity from fitting dispersion curves estimated from two-dimensional Fourier transform analysis. The results demonstrated that the CNN models were robust to noise, vertical position and partially to f-number. The architecture was proven to be robust to multiple push profiles if trained properly. The CNN results showed higher accuracy over the full viscoelastic parameter range compared to the Fourier-based analysis. The overall results showed the CNNs’ potential to be an alternative to complex mathematical analyses such as Fourier analysis and dispersion curve estimation used currently for shear wave viscoelastic parameter estimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104382
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Acoustic radiation force
  • Convolutional neural networks
  • Machine learning
  • Shear wave elastography (SWE)
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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