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Quantitative Viscoelasticity Mapping of Human Liver Using Supersonic Shear Imaging: PreliminaryIn VivoFeasability Study

Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2008.08.018
  • Transient Elastography
  • Ultrasound
  • Liver Fibrosis
  • Shear Wave Imaging


Abstract This paper demonstrates the feasibility of in vivo quantitative mapping of liver viscoelasticity using the concept of supersonic shear wave imaging. This technique is based on the combination of a radiation force induced in tissues by focused ultrasonic beams and a very high frame rate ultrasound imaging sequence capable of catching in real time the transient propagation of resulting shear waves. The local shear wave velocity is recovered using a dedicated time-of-flight estimation technique and enables the 2-D quantitative mapping of shear elasticity. This imaging modality is performed using a conventional ultrasound probe during a standard intercostal ultrasonographic examination. Three supersonic shear imaging (SSI) sequences are applied successively in the left, middle and right parts of the 2-D ultrasonographic image. Resulting shear elasticity images in the three regions are concatenated to provide the final image covering the entire region-of-interest. The ability of the SSI technique to provide a quantitative and local estimation of liver shear modulus with a millimetric resolution is proven in vivo on 15 healthy volunteers. Liver moduli extracted from in vivo data from healthy volunteers are consistent with those reported in the literature (Young's modulus ranging from 4 to 7.5 kPa). Moreover, liver stiffness estimation using the SSI mode is shown to be fast (less than one second), repeatable (5.7% standard deviation) and reproducible (6.7% standard deviation). This technique, used as a complementary tool for B-mode ultrasound, could complement morphologic information both for fibrosis staging and hepatic lesions imaging (E-mail:

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