paper// IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control

4-D Ultrafast Shear-wave Imaging

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Over the last ten years, shear wave elastography (SWE) has seen considerable development and is now routinely used in clinics to provide mechanical characterization of tissues to improve diagnosis. The most advanced technique relies on the use of an ultrafast scanner to generate and image shear waves in real time in a 2-D plane at several thousands of frames per second. We have recently introduced 3-D ultrafast ultrasound imaging to acquire with matrix probes the 3-D propagation of shear waves generated by a dedicated radiation pressure transducer in a single acquisition. In this study, we demonstrate 3-D SWE based on ultrafast volumetric imaging in a clinically applicable configuration. A 32 × 32 matrix phased array driven by a customized, programmable, 1024-channel ultrasound system was designed to perform 4-D shear-wave imaging. A matrix phased array was used to generate and control in 3-D the shear waves inside the medium using the acoustic radiation force. The same matrix array was used with 3-D coherent plane wave compounding to perform high-quality ultrafast imaging of the shear wave propagation. Volumetric ultrafast acquisitions were then beamformed in 3-D using a delay-and-sum algorithm. 3-D volumetric maps of the shear modulus were reconstructed using a time-of-flight algorithm based on local multiscale cross-correlation of shear wave profiles in the three main directions using directional filters. Results are first presented in an isotropic homogeneous and elastic breast phantom. Then, a full 3-D stiffness reconstruction of the breast was performed in vivo on healthy volunteers. This new full 3-D ultrafast ultrasound system paves the way toward real-time 3-D SWE.