It is important to evaluate the viscoelasticity of muscle for assessment of its condition. However, quantitative and noninvasive diagnostic methods have not yet been established. In our previous study, we developed a method, which used ultrasonic acoustic radiation forces irradiated from two opposite horizontal directions, for measurement of the viscoelasticity. Using two continuous wave ultrasounds, an object can be actuated with an ultrasonic intensity, which is far lower (0.9W/cm2) than that in the case of the conventional acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) method. In the present study, in vitro experiments using phantoms made of polyurethane rubber and porcine muscle tissue embedded in a gelatin block were conducted. We actuated phantoms by ultrasonic radiation force and measured the propagation velocity of the generated shear wave inside the phantoms using a diagnostic ultrasound system. The viscoelasticities of phantoms were estimated by fitting a viscoelastic model, i.e., the Voigt model, to the frequency characteristic of the measured shear wave propagation speed. In the mechanical tensile test, a softer polyurethane phantom exhibited a lower elasticity and a higher viscosity than a polyurethane phantom with a higher elasticity and a lower viscosity. The viscoelasticity measured by ultrasound showed the same tendency as that in the tensile test. Furthermore, the viscoelasticity of the phantom with porcine muscular tissue was measured in vitro, and the estimated viscoelasticity agreed well with that reported in the literature. These results show the possibility of the proposed method for noninvasive and quantitative assessment of the viscoelasticity of biological soft tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)