Comparison of three dimensional strain volume reconstructions using SOUPR and wobbler based acquisitions: A phantom study




Ultrasound strain imaging is a relatively low cost and portable modality for monitoring percutaneous thermal ablation of liver neoplasms. However, a 3D strain volume reconstruction from existing 2D strain images is necessary to fully delineate the thermal dose distribution. Tissue mimicking (TM) phantom experiments were performed to validate a novel volume reconstruction algorithm referred to as sheaf of ultrasound planes reconstruction (SOUPR), based on a series of 2D rotational imaging planes.


Reconstruction using SOUPR was formulated as an optimization problem with constraints on data consistency with 2D strain images and data smoothness of the volume data. Reconstructed ablation inclusion dimensions, volume, and elastographic signal to noise ratio (SNRe) and contrast to noise ratio (CNRe) were compared with conventional 3D ultrasound strain imaging based on interpolating a series of quasiparallel 2D strain images with a wobbler transducer.


Volume estimates of the phantom inclusion were in a similar range for both acquisition approaches. SNRe and CNRe obtained with SOUPR were significantly higher on the order of 250% and 166%, respectively. The mean error of the inclusion dimension reconstructed with a wobbler transducer was on the order of 10.4%, 3.5%, and 19.0% along the X, Y, and Z axes, respectively, while the error with SOUPR was on the order of 2.6%, 2.8%, and 9.6%. A qualitative comparison of SOUPR and wobbler reconstruction was also performed using a thermally ablated region created in ex vivo bovine liver tissue.


The authors have demonstrated using experimental evaluations with a TM phantom that the reconstruction results obtained with SOUPR were superior when compared with a conventional wobbler transducer in terms of inclusion shape preservation and detectability.