Comparison of Displacement Tracking Algorithms for in Vivo Electrode Displacement Elastography

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Hepatocellular carcinoma and liver metastases are common hepatic malignancies presenting with high mortality rates. Minimally invasive microwave ablation (MWA) yields high success rates similar to surgical resection. However, MWA procedures require accurate image guidance during the procedure and for post-procedure assessments. Ultrasound electrode displacement elastography (EDE) has demonstrated utility for non-ionizing imaging of regions of thermal necrosis created with MWA in the ablation suite. Three strategies for displacement vector tracking and strain tensor estimation, namely coupled subsample displacement estimation (CSDE), a multilevel 2-D normalized cross-correlation method, and quality-guided displacement tracking (QGDT) have previously shown accurate estimations for EDE. This paper reports on a qualitative and quantitative comparison of these three algorithms over 79 patients after an MWA procedure. Qualitatively, CSDE presents sharply delineated, clean ablated regions with low noise except for the distal boundary of the ablated region. Multilevel and QGDT contain more visible noise artifacts, but delineation is seen over the entire ablated region. Quantitative comparison indicates CSDE with more consistent mean and standard deviations of region of interest within the mass of strain tensor magnitudes and higher contrast, while Multilevel and QGDT provide higher CNR. This fact along with highest success rates of 89% and 79% on axial and lateral strain tensor images for visualization of thermal necrosis using the Multilevel approach leads to it being the best choice in a clinical setting. All methods, however, provide consistent and reproducible delineation for EDE in the ablation suite.

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Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology