Ultrasound physics and instrumentation for pathologists

Department of Pathology, University of California Los Angeles, Alhambra, California, USA. mail:
Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine (Impact Factor: 2.84). 10/2010; 134(10):1541-56. DOI: 10.1043/2009-0730-RA.1
Source: PubMed


Interest in pathologist-performed ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration is increasing. Educational courses discuss clinical ultrasound and biopsy techniques but not ultrasound physics and instrumentation.
To review modern ultrasound physics and instrumentation to help pathologists understand the basis of modern ultrasound.
A review of recent literature and textbooks was performed.
Ultrasound physics and instrumentation are the foundations of clinical ultrasound. The key physical principle is the piezoelectric effect. When stimulated by an electric current, certain crystals vibrate and produce ultrasound. A hand-held transducer converts electricity into ultrasound, transmits it into tissue, and listens for reflected ultrasound to return. The returning echoes are converted into electrical signals and used to create a 2-dimensional gray-scale image. Scanning at a high frequency improves axial resolution but has low tissue penetration. Electronic focusing moves the long-axis focus to depth of the object of interest and improves lateral resolution. The short-axis focus in 1-dimensional transducers is fixed, which results in poor elevational resolution away from the focal zone. Using multiple foci improves lateral resolution but degrades temporal resolution. The sonographer can adjust the dynamic range to change contrast and bring out subtle masses. Contrast resolution is limited by processing speed, monitor resolution, and gray-scale perception of the human eye. Ultrasound is an evolving field. New technologies include miniaturization, spatial compound imaging, tissue harmonics, and multidimensional transducers. Clinical cytopathologists who understand ultrasound physics, instrumentation, and clinical ultrasound are ready for the challenges of cytopathologist-performed ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration and core-needle biopsy in the 21st century.

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    • "Transducers focus and narrow the US beam to improve the lateral resolution. The depth at which the US beam is narrowest is defined as the 'focus' (13, 16), and as a result, the 'focus' is the point where the US energy is the highest. We speculate that the US energy in WFZ or with multiple foci is not as strong as with a narrow, SF, and thus, PAS in WFZ is expected to be less distinct than in a SF image, due to the lower US energy at the depth of the Implanon. "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine which mode of ultrasonography (US), among the conventional, spatial compound, and tissue-harmonic methods, exhibits the best performance for the detection of Implanon® with respect to generation of posterior acoustic shadowing (PAS). A total of 21 patients, referred for localization of impalpable Implanon®, underwent US, using the three modes with default settings (i.e., wide focal zone). Representative transverse images of the rods, according to each mode for all patients, were obtained. The resulting 63 images were reviewed by four observers. The observers provided a confidence score for the presence of PAS, using a five-point scale ranging from 1 (definitely absent) to 5 (definitely present), with scores of 4 or 5 for PAS being considered as detection. The average scores of PAS, obtained from the three different modes for each observer, were compared using one-way repeated measure ANOVA. The detection rates were compared using a weighted least square method. Statistically, the tissue harmonic mode was significantly superior to the other two modes, when comparing the average scores of PAS for all observers (p < 0.00-1). The detection rate was also highest for the tissue harmonic mode (p < 0.001). Tissue harmonic mode in uS appears to be the most suitable in detecting subdermal contraceptive implant rods.
    Korean journal of radiology: official journal of the Korean Radiological Society 09/2012; 13(5):602-9. DOI:10.3348/kjr.2012.13.5.602 · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper was to demonstrate the usage of an automated computer-based IMT measurement system called - CALEX 3.0 (a class of patented AtheroEdge™ software) on a low contrast and low resolution image database acquired during an epidemiological study from India. The image contrast was very low with pixel density of 12.7 pixels/mm. Further, to demonstrate the accuracy and reproducibility of the AtheroEdge™ software system we compared it with the manual tracings of a vascular surgeon--considered as a gold standard. We automatically measured the IMT value of 885 common carotid arteries in longitudinal B-Mode images. CALEX 3.0 consisted of a stage for the automatic recognition of the carotid artery and an IMT measurement modulus made of a fuzzy K-means classifier. Performance was assessed by measuring the system accuracy and reproducibility against manual tracings by experts. CALEX 3.0 processed all the 885 images of the dataset (100% success). The average automated obtained IMT measurement by CALEX 3.0 was 0.407±0.083 mm compared with 0.429 ± 0.052 mm for the manual tracings, which led to an IMT bias of 0.022±0.081mm. The IMT measurement accuracy (0.022 mm) was comparable to that obtained on high-resolution images and the reproducibility (0.081 mm) was very low and suitable to clinical application. The Figure-of-Merit defined as the percent agreement between the computer-estimated IMT and manually measured IMT for CALEX 3.0 was 94.7%. CALEX 3.0 had a 100% success in processing low contrast/low-resolution images. CALEX 3.0 is the first technique, which has led to high accuracy and reproducibility on low-resolution images acquired during an epidemiological study. We propose CALEX 3.0 as a generalized framework for IMT measurement on large datasets.
    International angiology: a journal of the International Union of Angiology 02/2012; 31(1):42-53. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4614-7425-8_17 · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    Applied Aspects of Ultrasonography in Humans, 04/2012; , ISBN: 978-953-51-0522-0
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