Archives of Acoustics, 37, 3, pp. 253–260, 2012

Multimodal Ultrasonic Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection

Jorge CAMACHO
Ultrasound for Medical and Industrial Applications Group (UMEDIA) Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Luis MEDINA
Ultrasound for Medical and Industrial Applications Group (UMEDIA) Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Jorge F. CRUZA
Ultrasound for Medical and Industrial Applications Group (UMEDIA) Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Jose M. MORENO
Ultrasound for Medical and Industrial Applications Group (UMEDIA) Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Carlos FRITSCH
Ultrasound for Medical and Industrial Applications Group (UMEDIA) Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Ultrasound is used for breast cancer detection as a technique complementary to mammography, the
standard screening method. Current practice is based on reflectivity images obtained with conventional
instruments by an operator who positions the ultrasonic transducer by hand over the patient’s body.
It is a non-ionizing radiation, pain-free and not expensive technique that provides a higher contrast
than mammography to discriminate among fluid-filled cysts and solid masses, especially for dense breast
tissue. However, results are quite dependent on the operator’s skills, images are difficult to reproduce,
and state-of-the-art instruments have a limited resolution and contrast to show micro-calcifications and
to discriminate between lesions and the surrounding tissue. In spite of their advantages, these factors
have precluded the use of ultrasound for screening.
This work approaches the ultrasound-based early detection of breast cancer with a different concept.
A ring array with many elements to cover 360◦ around a hanging breast allows obtaining repeatable and
operator-independent coronal slice images. Such an arrangement is well suited for multi-modal imaging
that includes reflectivity, compounded, tomography, and phase coherence images for increased specificity
in breast cancer detection. Preliminary work carried out with a mechanical emulation of the ring array
and a standard breast phantom shows a high resolution and contrast, with an artifact-free capability
provided by phase coherence processing.
Keywords: ultrasound imaging; ultrasound tomography; breast cancer
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