Quantitative ultrasonic characterization of diffuse scatterers in the presence of structures that produce coherent echoes

Adam C. Luchies, Goutam Ghoshal, William D. O'Brien, Michael L. Oelze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) techniques that parameterize the backscattered power spectrum have demonstrated significant promise for ultrasonic tissue characterization. Some QUS parameters, such as the effective scatterer diameter (ESD), require the assumption that the examined medium contains uniform diffuse scatterers. Structures that invalidate this assumption can significantly affect the estimated QUS parameters and decrease performance when classifying disease. In this work, a method was developed to reduce the effects of echoes that invalidate the assumption of diffuse scattering. To accomplish this task, backscattered signal sections containing non-diffuse echoes were identified and removed from the QUS analysis. Parameters estimated from the generalized spectrum (GS) and the Rayleigh SNR parameter were compared for detecting data blocks with non-diffuse echoes. Simulations and experiments were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the method. Experiments consisted of estimating QUS parameters from spontaneous fibroadenomas in rats and from beef liver samples. Results indicated that the method was able to significantly reduce or eliminate the effects of nondiffuse echoes that might exist in the backscattered signal. For example, the average reduction in the relative standard deviation of ESD estimates from simulation, rat fibroadenomas, and beef liver samples were 13%, 30%, and 51%, respectively. The Rayleigh SNR parameter performed best at detecting nondiffuse echoes for the purpose of removing and reducing ESD bias and variance. The method provides a means to improve the diagnostic capabilities of QUS techniques by allowing separate analysis of diffuse and non-diffuse scatterers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6202413
Pages (from-to)893-904
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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