Ultrasound Sub-pixel Motion-tracking Method with Out-of-plane Motion Detection for Precise Vascular Imaging

Hideki Yoshikawa, Taku Yamamoto, Tomohiko Tanaka, Ken ichi Kawabata, Shin Yoshizawa, Shin ichiro Umemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasound vascularity imaging provides important information for differential diagnosis of tumors. Peak-hold (PH) is a useful technique for precisely imaging small vessels by selecting a maximum brightness in each pixel through the frames obtained sequentially. To use PH successfully one needs motion compensation to reduce image blur, but out-of-plane motion cannot be avoided. To address this problem, we developed a sub-pixel motion-tracking method with out-of-plane motion detection (OPMD). It is a combination of the sum of the absolute differences (SAD) method and the Kanade-Lucas-Tomasi method and can be accurately applied to various motions. The value from OPMD (γ) is defined as a statistical value obtained from the distribution of residual values in the SAD procedure with the obtained frames. The value is ideally 0, and the frames having large γ are removed from the PH procedure. The accuracy of the proposed tracking method was found by a simulation study to be approximately 20 μm. We also found, through a phantom experiment, that the value of γ sensitively increased enough to detect out-of-plane motion. Most important, γ begins to increase before tracking errors occur. This suggests that OPMD can be used to predict tracking errors and effectively remove frames from the PH procedure. An in vivo experiment with a rabbit showed that the PH image obtained with motion tracking clearly revealed peripheral vessels that were blurred in the PH image obtained without motion tracking. We also found that the image quality becomes better when OPMD was used to remove frames including out-of-plane motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-795
Number of pages14
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar


  • Contrast agent
  • Motion tracking
  • Out-of-plane motion
  • Peak-hold
  • Sub-pixel
  • Vascular imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasound Sub-pixel Motion-tracking Method with Out-of-plane Motion Detection for Precise Vascular Imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this