Virtual Breast Quasi-static Elastography (VBQE):: A Case Study in Contrast Transfer Efficiency of Viscoelastic Imaging

Document Type


Publication Date



© The Author(s) 2016. Viscoelasticity Imaging (VEI) has been proposed to measure relaxation time constants for characterization of in vivo breast lesions. In this technique, an external compression force on the tissue being imaged is maintained for a fixed period of time to induce strain creep. A sequence of ultrasound echo signals is then utilized to generate time-resolved strain measurements. Relaxation time constants can be obtained by fitting local time-resolved strain measurements to a viscoelastic tissue model (e.g., a modified Kevin-Voigt model). In this study, our primary objective is to quantitatively evaluate the contrast transfer efficiency (CTE) of VEI, which contains useful information regarding image interpretations. Using an open-source simulator for virtual breast quasi-static elastography (VBQE), we conducted a case study of contrast transfer efficiency of VEI. In multiple three-dimensional (3D) numerical breast phantoms containing various degrees of heterogeneity, finite element (FE) simulations in conjunction with quasi-linear viscoelastic constitutive tissue models were performed to mimic data acquisition of VEI under freehand scanning. Our results suggested that there were losses in CTE, and the losses could be as high as -'18 dB. FE results also qualitatively corroborated clinical observations, for example, artifacts around tissue interfaces.

Publication Title

Ultrasonic Imaging