3-D Single Breath-Hold Shear Strain Estimation for Improved Breast Lesion Detection and Classification in Automated Volumetric Ultrasound Scanners.

G. Hendriks, C. Chen, H. Hansen and C. de Korte




Automated breast volume scanner (ABVS) is an ultrasound imaging modality used in breast cancer screening. It has high sensitivity but limited specificity as it is hard to discriminate between benign and malignant lesions by echogenic properties. Specificity might be improved by shear strain imaging as malignant lesions, firmly bonded to its host tissue, show different shear patterns compared to benign lesions, often loosely bonded. Therefore, 3-D quasi-static elastography was implemented in an ABVS-like system. Plane wave instead of conventional focused transmissions were used to reduce scan times within a single breath hold. A 3-D strain tensor was obtained and shear strains were reconstructed in phantoms containing firmly and loosely bonded lesions. Experiments were also simulated in finite-element models (FEMs). Experimental results, confirmed by FEM-results, indicated that loosely bonded lesions showed increased maximal shear strains (~2.5%) and different shear patterns compared to firmly bonded lesions (~0.9%). To conclude, we successfully implemented 3-D elastography in an ABVS-like system to assess lesion bonding by shear strain imaging.