Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Advisor 1

Jingfeng Jiang

Committee Member 1

Sean J. Kirkpatrick

Committee Member 2

Jinshan Tang

Committee Member 3

Min Wang


Ultrasound Elastography (UE) is an emerging set of imaging modalities used to assess the biomechanical properties of soft tissues. UE has been applied to numerous clinical applications. Particularly, results from clinical trials of UE in breast lesion differentiation and staging liver fibrosis indicated that there was a lack of confidence in UE measurements or image interpretation. Confidence on UE measurements interpretation is critically important for improving the clinical utility of UE. The primary objective of my thesis is to develop a computational simulation platform based on open-source software packages including Field II, VTK, FEBio and Tetgen. The proposed virtual simulation platform can be used to simulate SE and acoustic radiation force based SWE simulations, including pSWE, SSI and ARFI.

To demonstrate its usefulness, in this thesis, examples for breast cancer detections were provided. The simulated results can reproduce what has been reported in the literature.

To statistically analyze the intrinsic variations of shear wave speed (SWS) in the fibrotic liver tissues, a probability density function (PDF) of the SWS distribution in conjunction with a lossless stochastic tissue model was derived using the principle of Maximum Entropy (ME). The performance of the proposed PDF was evaluated using Monte-Carlo (MC) simulated shear wave data and against three other commonly used PDFs. We theoretically demonstrated that SWS measurements follow a non-Gaussian distribution for the first time. One advantage of the proposed PDF is its physically meaningful parameters. Also, we conducted a case study of the relationship between shear wave measurements and the microstructure of fibrotic liver tissues. Three different virtual tissue models were used to represent underlying microstructures of fibrotic liver tissues.

Furthermore, another innovation of this thesis is the inclusion of “biologically-relevant” fibrotic liver tissue models for simulation of shear wave elastography. To link tissue structure, composition and architecture to the ultrasound measurements directly, a “biologically relevant” tissue model was established using Systems Biology. Our initial results demonstrated that the simulated virtual liver tissues qualitatively could reproduce histological results and wave speed measurements.

In conclusions, these computational tools and theoretical analysis can improve the confidence on UE image/measurements interpretation.