Speckle tracking and speckle content based composite strain imaging for solid and fluid filled lesions

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Strain imaging though for solid lesions provides an effective way for determining their pathologic condition by displaying the tissue stiffness contrast, for fluid filled lesions such an imaging is yet an open problem. In this paper, we propose a novel speckle content based strain imaging technique for visualization and classification of fluid filled lesions in elastography after automatic identification of the presence of fluid filled lesions. Speckle content based strain, defined as a function of speckle density based on the relationship between strain and speckle density, gives an indirect strain value for fluid filled lesions. To measure the speckle density of the fluid filled lesions, two new criteria based on oscillation count of the windowed radio frequency signal and local variance of the normalized B-mode image are used. An improved speckle tracking technique is also proposed for strain imaging of the solid lesions and background. A wavelet-based integration technique is then proposed for combining the strain images from these two techniques for visualizing both the solid and fluid filled lesions from a common framework. The final output of our algorithm is a high quality composite strain image which can effectively visualize both solid and fluid filled breast lesions in addition to the speckle content of the fluid filled lesions for their discrimination. The performance of our algorithm is evaluated using the in vivo patient data and compared with recently reported techniques. The results show that both the solid and fluid filled lesions can be better visualized using our technique and the fluid filled lesions can be classified with good accuracy.

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