Acoustic properties of two types of soft tissue-like media were measured as a function of compressive strain. Samples were subjected to uniaxial strains up to 40% along the axis of the transducer beam. Measurements were analyzed to test a common assumption made when using pulse-echo waveforms to track motion in soft tissues-that local properties of wave propagation and scattering are invariant under deformation. Violations of this assumption have implications for elasticity imaging procedures and could provide new opportunities for identifying the sources of backscatter in biological media such as breast parenchyma. We measured speeds of sound, attenuation coefficients, and echo spectra in compressed phantoms containing randomly positioned scatterers either stiffer or softer than the surrounding gelatin. Only the echo spectra of gel media with soft scatterers varied significantly during compression. Centroids of the echo spectra were found to be shifted to higher frequencies in proportion to the applied strain up to 10%, and increased monotonically up to 40% at a rate depending on the scatterer size. Centroid measurements were accurately modeled by assuming incoherent scattering from oblate spheroids with an eccentricity that increases with strain. While spectral shifts can be accurately modeled, recovery of lost echo coherence does not seem possible. Consequently, spectral variance during compression may ultimately limit the amount of strain that can be applied between two data fields in heterogeneous media such as lipid-filled tissues. It also appears to partially explain why strain images often produce greater echo decorrelation in tissues than in commonly used graphite-gelatin test phantoms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics