Effect of Boundary Conditions on Performance of Poroelastographic Imaging Techniques in Non Homogenous Poroelastic Media



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In the study of the mechanical behavior of biological tissues, many complex tissues are often modeled as poroelastic systems due to their high fluid content and mobility. Fluid content and fluid transport mechanisms in tissues are known to be highly correlated with several pathologies. Thus, imaging techniques capable of providing accurate information about these mechanisms can potentially be of great diagnostic value. Ultrasound elastography is an imaging modality that is currently used as a complement to sonographic methods to detect a variety of tissue pathologies. Poroelastography is a new elastographic technique that has been recently proposed to image the mechanical behavior of tissues that can be modeled as poroelastic media. The few poroelastographic studies retrievable focus primarily on homogeneous poroelastic media. In this study, a statistical analysis of the performance of poroelastographic techniques in a non-homogeneous poroelastic simulation model under different loading conditions was carried out. The two loading conditions simulated were stress relaxation (application of constant strain) and creep compression (application of constant stress), both of which have been commonly used in the field of poroelastography. Simulations were performed using a FE poroelastic simulation software combined with ultrasound simulation software techniques and poroelastography processing algorithms developed in our laboratory. The non-homogeneous poroelastic medium was modeled as a cube (background) containing a cylindrical inclusion (target). Different permeability, Young?s modulus and Poisson?s ratio contrasts between the underlying matrix of the background and the target were considered. Both stress relaxation and creep compression loading conditions were simulated. The performance of poroelastography techniques was quantified in terms of accuracy, elastographic contrast?to?noise ratio and contrast transfer efficiency. The results of this study show that, in general, image quality of both axial strain and effective Poisson?s ratio poroelastograms is a complex function of time, which depends on the contrast between the poroelastic material properties of the background and the poroelastic material properties of the target and the boundary conditions. The results of this study could have important implications in defining the clinical range of applications of poroelastographic techniques and in the methodologies currently deployed.