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      An Integrated Approach to Ultrasound Imaging in Medicine and Biology

      BIO Integration

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          Supersonic shear imaging: a new technique for soft tissue elasticity mapping

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            Ultrafast ultrasound localization microscopy for deep super-resolution vascular imaging.

            Non-invasive imaging deep into organs at microscopic scales remains an open quest in biomedical imaging. Although optical microscopy is still limited to surface imaging owing to optical wave diffusion and fast decorrelation in tissue, revolutionary approaches such as fluorescence photo-activated localization microscopy led to a striking increase in resolution by more than an order of magnitude in the last decade. In contrast with optics, ultrasonic waves propagate deep into organs without losing their coherence and are much less affected by in vivo decorrelation processes. However, their resolution is impeded by the fundamental limits of diffraction, which impose a long-standing trade-off between resolution and penetration. This limits clinical and preclinical ultrasound imaging to a sub-millimetre scale. Here we demonstrate in vivo that ultrasound imaging at ultrafast frame rates (more than 500 frames per second) provides an analogue to optical localization microscopy by capturing the transient signal decorrelation of contrast agents--inert gas microbubbles. Ultrafast ultrasound localization microscopy allowed both non-invasive sub-wavelength structural imaging and haemodynamic quantification of rodent cerebral microvessels (less than ten micrometres in diameter) more than ten millimetres below the tissue surface, leading to transcranial whole-brain imaging within short acquisition times (tens of seconds). After intravenous injection, single echoes from individual microbubbles were detected through ultrafast imaging. Their localization, not limited by diffraction, was accumulated over 75,000 images, yielding 1,000,000 events per coronal plane and statistically independent pixels of ten micrometres in size. Precise temporal tracking of microbubble positions allowed us to extract accurately in-plane velocities of the blood flow with a large dynamic range (from one millimetre per second to several centimetres per second). These results pave the way for deep non-invasive microscopy in animals and humans using ultrasound. We anticipate that ultrafast ultrasound localization microscopy may become an invaluable tool for the fundamental understanding and diagnostics of various disease processes that modify the microvascular blood flow, such as cancer, stroke and arteriosclerosis.
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              Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging: in vivo demonstration of clinical feasibility.

              The clinical viability of a method of acoustic remote palpation, capable of imaging local variations in the mechanical properties of soft tissue using acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging, is investigated in vivo. In this method, focused ultrasound (US) is used to apply localized radiation force to small volumes of tissue (2 mm(3)) for short durations (less than 1 ms) and the resulting tissue displacements are mapped using ultrasonic correlation-based methods. The tissue displacements are inversely proportional to the stiffness of the tissue and, thus, a stiffer region of tissue exhibits smaller displacements than a more compliant region. Due to the short duration of the force application, this method provides information about the mechanical impulse response of the tissue, which reflects variations in tissue viscoelastic characteristics. In this paper, experimental results are presented demonstrating that displacements on the order of 10 microm can be generated and detected in soft tissues in vivo using a single transducer on a modified diagnostic US scanner. Differences in the magnitude of displacement and the transient response of tissue are correlated with tissue structures in matched B-mode images. The results comprise the first in vivo ARFI images, and support the clinical feasibility of a radiation force-based remote palpation imaging system.

                Author and article information

                BIO Integration
                Compuscript (Ireland )
                01 December 2020
                16 October 2020
                : 1
                : 3
                : 105-109
                Copyright © 2020 The Authors

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See https://bio-integration.org/copyright-and-permissions/

                Self URI (journal-page): https://bio-integration.org/

                Medicine,Molecular medicine,Radiology & Imaging,Biotechnology,Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine,Microscopy & Imaging


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