Characterizing the viscoelastic properties of thin-layer tissues with micro-level thickness has long remained challenging. Recently, several micro-elastography techniques have been developed to improve the spatial resolution. However, most of these techniques have not considered the medium boundary conditions when evaluating the viscoelastic properties of thin-layer tissues such as arteries and corneas; this might lead to estimation bias or errors. This paper aims to integrate the Lamb wave model with our previously developed ultrasonic micro-elastography imaging system for obtaining accurate viscoelastic properties in thin-layer tissues. A 4.5-MHz ring transducer was used to generate an acoustic radiation force for inducing tissue displacements to produce guided wave, and the wave propagation was detected using a confocally aligned 40-MHz needle transducer. The phase velocity and attenuation were obtained from k-space by both the impulse and the harmonic methods. The measured phase velocity was fit using the Lamb wave model with the Kelvin-Voigt model. Phantom experiments were conducted using 7% and 12% gelatin and 1.5% agar phantoms with different thicknesses (2, 3, and 4 mm). Biological experiments were performed on porcine cornea and rabbit carotid artery ex vivo. Thin-layer phantoms with different thicknesses were confirmed to have the same elasticity; this was consistent with the estimates of bulk phantoms from mechanical tests and the shear wave rheological model. The trend of the measured attenuations was also confirmed with the viscosity results obtained using the Lamb wave model. Through the impulse and harmonic methods, the shear viscoelasticity values were estimated to be 8.2 kPa for 0.9 Pa s and 9.6 kPa for 0.8 Pa s in the cornea and 27.9 kPa for 0.1 Pa s and 26.5 kPa for 0.1 Pa s in the artery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering