Total attenuation compensation for backscatter coefficient estimation using full angular spatial compounding

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Coila A.
Rouyer J.
Zenteno O.
Luchies A.
Oelze M.L.
Lavarello R.
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Elsevier B.V.
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The backscatter coefficient (BSC) quantifies the frequency-dependent reflectivity of tissues. Accurate estimation of the BSC is only possible with the knowledge of the attenuation coefficient slope (ACS) of the tissues under examination. In this study, the use of attenuation maps constructed using full angular spatial compounding (FASC) is proposed for attenuation compensation when imaging integrated BSCs. Experimental validation of the proposed approach was obtained using two cylindrical physical phantoms with off-centered inclusions having different ACS and BSC values than the background, and in a phantom containing an ex vivo chicken breast sample embedded in an agar matrix. With the phantom data, three different ACS maps were employed for attenuation compensation: (1) a ground truth ACS map constructed using insertion loss techniques, (2) the estimated ACS map using FASC attenuation imaging, and (3) a uniform ACS map with a value of 0.5 dBcm\protect \relax \special {t4ht=?}1MHz\protect \relax \special {t4ht=?}1, which is commonly used to represent attenuation in soft tissues. Comparable results were obtained when using the ground truth and FASC-estimated ACS maps in term of inclusion detectability and estimation accuracy, with averaged fractional error below 2.8 dB in both phantoms. Conversely, the use of the homogeneous ACS map resulted in higher levels of fractional error (>10 dB), which demonstrates the importance of an accurate attenuation compensation. The results with the ex vivo tissue sample were consistent with the observations using the physical phantoms, with the FASC-derived ACS map providing comparable BSC images to those formed using the ground truth ACS map and more accurate than those BSC images formed using a uniform ACS. These results suggest that BSCs can be reliably estimated using FASC when a self-consistent attenuation compensation stemming from prior estimation of an accurate ACS map is used. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
Palabras clave
Ultrasound tissue characterization, Attenuation coefficient slope, Backscatter coefficient, Quantitative ultrasound, Spatial compounding, Tomography