Dense speed-of-sound shift imaging for ultrasonic thermometry

Tal Grutman, Tali Ilovitsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective. Develop a dense algorithm for calculating the speed-of-sound shift between consecutive acoustic acquisitions as a noninvasive means to evaluating temperature change during thermal ablation. Methods. An algorithm for dense speed-of-sound shift imaging (DSI) was developed to simultaneously incorporate information from the entire field of view using a combination of dense optical flow and inverse problem regularization, thus speeding up the calculation and introducing spatial agreement between pixels natively. Thermal ablation monitoring consisted of two main steps: pixel shift tracking using Farneback optical flow, and mathematical modeling of the relationship between the pixel displacement and temperature change as an inverse problem to find the speed-of-sound shift. A calibration constant translates from speed-of-sound shift to temperature change. The method performance was tested in ex vivo samples and compared to standard thermal strain imaging (TSI) methods. Main results. Thermal ablation at a frequency of 2 MHz was applied to an agarose phantom that created a speed-of-sound shift measured by an L12-5 imaging transducer. A focal spot was reconstructed by solving the inverse problem. Next, a thermocouple measured the temperature rise during thermal ablation of ex vivo chicken breast to calibrate the setup. Temperature changes between 3 °C and 15 °C was measured with high thermometry precision of less than 2 °C error for temperature changes as low as 8 °C. The DSI method outperformed standard TSI in both spatial coherence and runtime in high-intensity focused ultrasound-induced hyperthermia. Significance. Dense ultrasonic speed-of-sound shift imaging can successfully monitor the speed-of-sound shift introduced by thermal ablation. This technique is faster and more robust than current methods, and therefore can be used as a noninvasive, real time and cost-effective thermometry method, with high clinical applicability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number215004
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published on behalf of Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine by IOP Publishing Ltd


  • focused ultrasound
  • hyperthermia
  • speed of sound shift imaging
  • thermal ablation
  • ultrasound imaging


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