A Method for Generating Poroelastograms in Vivo





Background:  Ultrasound elastograms in are generated by cross-correlating the sequentially-acquired post compression ultrasound data with the reference pre-compression ultrasound data, thus generating an image that allows for differentiation of tissues types, i.e. benign vs. malignant tumors. A new ultrasound elastographic technique, poroelastography, has been recently introduced to describe the spatial and temporal behavior of poroelastic materials.  These materials are characterized by porosity, permeability as well as the combined properties of both a solid matrix and a fluid.


Current Problems:  Traditional elastograms are generated based on the principal that the tissue being probed is purely an elastic, single-phase (i.e., solid), isotropic and incompressible material.  In-vivo, however, several tissues, including poroelastic tissues such as brain, cartilage and cancer tumors, exhibit responses that are not adequately described by such a linear elastic model. This elastic model has been proven to be not adequate for imaging these poroelastic tissues in vivo because of the noise problems that are encountered due to uncontrolled tissue motion, which may be significant with compression


The Technology:  Dr. Jonathan Ophir and his team at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have developed a new method for generating poroelastograms in vivo.  The method minimizes the noise between the pre- and post-compression data sets since the reference pre-compression data frame is continuously moved in time, while the inter-frame time interval is maintained sufficiently short during the entire acquisition. This allows the generation of good quality poroelastograms in vivo for short (sub-second) as well as long (multi-second) acquisition times. The acquired data are then used to create images that depict the time-dependent changes that occur in the material due to fluid flow.


Selected Publications:   Righetti, R., Ophir, J., Chandrasekhar, RM., Garra, BS. And Krouskop, TA: “A new method for generating poroelastograms in noisy environments.” Ultrasonic Imaging, 27, pp. 181-198, September 2005.


UTHealth Ref. No(s): 2006-0008

Inventor(s):  Dr. Jonathan Ophir and Dr. Raffaella Righetti

Patent Status:  4 issued US patents (7,779,692; 7,905,148; 7,954,379; and 7,905,147)

License Available:  World-wide exclusive or non-exclusive


Patent Information:

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Christine Flynn
Associate Director, Licensing and New Venture Development
University of Texas Health Science Center At Houston
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