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Time-of-flight and noise-correlation-inspired algorithms for full-field shear-wave elastography using digital holography
Journal of Biomedical Optics  (IF3.17),  Pub Date : 2021-08-01, DOI: 10.1117/1.jbo.26.8.086006
Agathe Marmin, Gabrielle Laloy-Borgna, Sybille Facca, Sylvain Gioux, Stefan Catheline, Amir Nahas

Significance: Quantitative stiffness information can be a powerful aid for tumor or fibrosis diagnosis. Currently, very promising elastography approaches developed for non-contact biomedical imaging are based on transient shear-waves imaging. Transient elastography offers quantitative stiffness information by tracking the propagation of a wave front. The most common method used to compute stiffness from the acquired propagation movie is based on shear-wave time-of-flight calculations. Aim: We introduce an approach to transient shear-wave elastography with spatially coherent sources, able to yield full-field quantitative stiffness maps with reduced artifacts compared to typical artifacts observed in time-of-flight. Approach: A noise-correlation algorithm developed for passive elastography is adapted to spatially coherent narrow or any band sources. This noise-correlation-inspired (NCi) method is employed in parallel with a classic time-of-flight approach. Testing is done on simulation images, experimental validation is conducted with a digital holography setup on controlled homogeneous samples, and full-field quantitative stiffness maps are presented for heterogeneous samples and ex-vivo biological tissues. Results: The NCi approach is first validated on simulations images. Stiffness images processed by the NCi approach on simulated inclusions display significantly less artifacts than with a time-of-flight reconstruction. The adaptability of the NCi algorithm to narrow or any band shear-wave sources was tested successfully. Experimental testing on homogeneous samples demonstrates similar values for both the time-of-flight and the NCi approach. Soft inclusions in agarose sample could be resolved using the NCi method and feasibility on ex-vivo biological tissues is presented. Conclusions: The presented NCi approach was successful in computing quantitative full-field stiffness maps with narrow and broadband source signals on simulation and experimental images from a digital holography setup. Results in heterogeneous media show that the NCi approach could provide stiffness maps with less artifacts than with time-of-flight, demonstrating that a NCi algorithm is a promising approach for shear-wave transient elastography with spatially coherent sources.