Viscoelastic parameters as discriminators of breast masses: Initial human study results

Viksit Kumar, Max Denis, Adriana Gregory, Mahdi Bayat, Mohammad Mehrmohammadi, Robert Fazzio, Mostafa Fatemi, Azra Alizad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Shear wave elastography is emerging as a clinically valuable diagnostic tool to differentiate between benign and malignant breast masses. Elastography techniques assume that soft tissue can be modelled as a purely elastic medium. However, this assumption is often violated as soft tissue exhibits viscoelastic properties. In order to explore the role of viscoelastic parameters in suspicious breast masses, a study was conducted on a group of patients using shear wave dispersion ultrasound vibrometry in the frequency range of 50-400 Hz. A total of 43 female patients with suspicious breast masses were recruited before their scheduled biopsy. Of those, 15 patients did not meet the data selection criteria. Voigt model based shear elasticity showed a significantly (p = 7.88x10-6) higher median value for the 13 malignant masses (16.76±13.10 kPa) compared to 15 benign masses (1.40±1.12 kPa). Voigt model based shear viscosity was significantly different (p = 4.13x10-5) between malignant (8.22±3.36 Pa-s) and benign masses (2.83±1.47 Pa-s). Moreover, the estimated time constant from the Voigt model, which is dependent on both shear elasticity and viscosity, differed significantly (p = 6.13x10-5) between malignant (0.68±0.33 ms) and benign masses (3.05±1.95 ms). Results suggest that besides elasticity, viscosity based parameters like shear viscosity and time constant can also be used to differentiate between malignant and benign breast masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0205717
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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