Fifty-seventh annual meeting of the American association of physicists in medicine
SU-E-U-02: The Development of a Practical Ultrasonic System for Cross-Sectional Imaging of Small Animals
To test the feasibility of developing a practical medium frequency ultrasound tomography method for small animal imaging. The ability to produce cross-sectional or full body images of a live small animal using a low-cost tabletop ultrasound scanner without any special license would be very beneficial to long term biological studies, where repeated scanning is often required over an extended period of time.
The cross sectional images were produced by compounding multiple B-scans of a laboratory phantom or an animal acquired at different projection angles. Two imaging systems were used to test the concept. The first system included a programmable 64-channel phased array controller driving a 128-channel, 5–10 MHz linear probe to produce 143 B-Mode projections of the spinning object. The second system designed and manufactured in house, produced 64 or 128 B-Mode projections with a single unfocused 8 MHz transducer scanning with a 0.116 mm step size.
The phased array system provided good penetration through the phantoms/mice (with the exception of the lungs) and allowed to acquire data in a very short time. The cross-sectional images have enough resolution and dynamic range to detect both high- and low-contrast organs. The single transducer system takes longer to scan, and the data require more sophisticated processing. To date, our images allow seeing details as small as 1–2 mm in the phantoms and in small animals, with the contrast mostly due to highly reflecting bones and air inclusions.
The work indicates that very detailed and anatomically correct images can be created by relatively simple and inexpensive means. With more advanced algorithms and improved system design, scan time can be reduced considerably, enabling high-resolution full 3D imaging. This will allow for quick and easy scans that can help monitor tumor growth and/or regression without contributing any dose to the animal.
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial and engineering support from Tessonics.