2021 journal article
Detecting pulmonary nodules by using ultrasound multiple scattering
JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, 150(6), 4095–4102.
Although X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) is widely used for detecting pulmonary nodules inside the parenchyma, it cannot be used during video-assisted surgical procedures. Real-time, non-ionizing, ultrasound-based techniques are an attractive alternative for nodule localization to ensure safe resection margins during surgery. Conventional ultrasound B-mode imaging of the lung is challenging due to multiple scattering. However, the multiple scattering contribution can be exploited to detect regions inside the lung containing no scatterers. Pulmonary nodules are homogeneous regions in contrast to the highly scattering parenchyma containing millions of air-filled alveoli. We developed a method relying on mapping the multiple scattering contribution inside the highly scattering lung to detect and localize pulmonary nodules. Impulse response matrices were acquired in ex-vivo pig and dog lungs using a linear array transducer to semi-locally investigate the backscattered field. Extracting the multiple-scattering contribution using singular-value decomposition and combining it with a depression detection algorithm allowed us to detect and localize regions with less multiple scattering, associated with the nodules. The feasibility of this method was demonstrated in five ex-vivo lungs containing a total of 20 artificial nodules. Ninety-five percent of the nodules were detected. Nodule depth and diameter significantly correlated with their ex-vivo CT-estimated counterparts (R = 0.960, 0.563, respectively).