Imaging of Gaps in Digital Joints by Measurement of Ultrasound Transmission Using a Linear Array

Hideyuki Hasegawa, Michiko Matsuura, Hiroshi Sato, Teruko Yamamoto, Hiroshi Kanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In orthodontic dentistry for young subjects, it is important to assess the degree of growth of the jaw bones to determine the optimum time for treatment. The structure of the digital joint changes with age, with such changes correlating to the degree of bone growth (including jaw bones). There are two gaps in the digital joint of a young subject, one of which disappears with aging. In the present study, a method for noninvasive assessment of such change in the structure of a digital joint was examined, in which continuous-wave ultrasound is radiated to a digital joint by a single-element ultrasonic transducer. This continuous ultrasound, which passes through the digital joint, is received by a linear array ultrasonic probe situated opposite the transducer. The probe simultaneously realizes pulse-echo imaging and imaging of transmission ultrasound, which passes through the joint. Using this experimental apparatus, the existence and position of a gap can be detected clearly by imaging the transmission ultrasound on a pulse-echo image. In basic experiments, continuous-wave ultrasound generated by a planar or focused transducer was radiated to a gap between two acrylic bars, which simulated that in a digital joint; transmission ultrasound, which passed through the gap, was measured with a linear array probe. The basic experimental results showed that a gap with a width >0.4 mm is detectable and that the width at half maximum of the amplitude profile of the received transmission ultrasound that passed through the gap correlated with the width of the gap. Furthermore, in the preliminary in vivo experiments, transmission ultrasound that passed through two gaps in the case of a child was clearly imaged by the proposed method, and that which passed through only one gap in the case of an adult was also imaged. These results show the possibility for the use of the proposed method to noninvasively assess the change in the structure of a joint as a result of aging. (E-mail:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-394
Number of pages13
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar


  • Bone age
  • Continuous-wave ultrasound
  • Digital joint
  • Linear array
  • Ultrasound transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Imaging of Gaps in Digital Joints by Measurement of Ultrasound Transmission Using a Linear Array'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this