Reconstruction of mechanical properties from surface-based motion data for Digital Image Elasto-Tomography using an implicit surface representation of breast tissue structure
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
There has been great interest in recent times in the use of elastography for the characterization of human tissue. Digital Image Elasto-Tomography is a novel breast cancer pre-screening technique under development at the University of Canterbury, which aims to identify and locate stiff areas within the breast that require further investigation using images of the surface motion alone. A calibrated array of five digital cameras is used to capture surface motion of the breast under harmonic actuation. The forward problem, that is the resulting motion for a given mechanical property distribution, is calculated using the Finite Element Method. The inverse problem is to find the mechanical properties which reproduce the measured surface motion through numerical simulation. A reconstruction algorithm is developed using a shape based description to reduce the number of parameters in the inverse problem. A parallel Genetic Algorithm is developed for parameter optimization. A geometric method termed Fitness Function Analysis is shown to improve the inclusion location optimization problem. The ensemble of solutions generated using the Genetic Algorithm is used to produce an optimal and a credible region for inclusion location. Successful single frequency phantom reconstructions are presented. An effective way of combining information from multi-frequency phantom data by examining the characteristics of the measured surface motion using data quality metrics is developed and used to produce improved reconstructions. Results from numerical simulation datasets and a two inclusion phantom used to test the optimization of multiple and ellipsoidal inclusions indicate that although two inclusions can be successfully reconstructed, the single inclusions assumption may suffice even in irregular, heterogeneous cases. This assumption was used to successfully locate the stiffest inclusion in a phantom containing multiple inclusions of differing stiffness based on three multi-frequency datasets. The methods developed in phantoms are applied to three in vivo cases for both single and multi-frequency data with limited success.
This thesis builds on previous work undertaken at the University of Canterbury. The original contributions in this work are as follows. A new reconstruction algorithm combining a genetic algorithm with fitness function analysis is developed. The most realistic tissue mimicking phantoms to date are used. An ellipsoidal shape-based description is presented, and applied to the first multi-inclusion reconstructions in DIET. This work presents the first reconstruction using meshes created directly from data using a meshing algorithm developed by Jonas Biehler. A multi-frequency cost function is developed to produce the first multi-frequency and in vivo reconstructions using DIET data.