The speed of sound (SOS) has become a useful tool in osteoporosis assessment, since it represents a combination of density and compressibility of bone tissue and should provide better information on bone quality and an estimate the fracture risk. In general, the speed of sound on dispersive material, such as bone tissue, depends strongly on frequency. Therefore, a measurement of velocity dispersion magnitude (VDM) might provide more important bone structure information than measurements of bone mineral density (BMD), SOS or broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA). To obtain the velocity dispersion magnitude requires a sequence of pulses that have a frequency that is different from that used in conventional approaches. The measurement is complicated by the fact that pulse waveform will distort as the pulses propagate through the frequency-dependent medium. Alternatively, the phase velocity and velocity dispersion measurements also can be obtained on frequency-domain processing. However, the accuracy of those techniques is affected by the 2mπ ambiguity in the phase unwrapping process in frequency domain. And the spectrum approach is highly dependent on the gating window selection in time domain signals. The time-domain split spectrum processing (SSP) technique is proposed here to measure the phase velocity and the VDM. The SSP technique is also used to measure the SOS and VDM of two commercial calcaneus phantoms. Simulation results are in good agreement with the preset parameters of a model-based signal obtained using the SSP technique. In addition, in vitro SSP measurements agree with the manufacturer's specifications for two commercial calcaneus phantoms. The negative dispersion is also found in in vivo measurements on human heel. Finally, an approach based on the time domain SSP technique has potential clinical applications for osteoporosis diagnosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering