Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Imaging and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

In vivo thyroid vibro-acoustography: a pilot study

Azra Alizad12*, Matthew W Urban1, John C Morris3, Carl C Reading4, Randall R Kinnick1, James F Greenleaf1 and Mostafa Fatemi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA

3 Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA

4 Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Imaging 2013, 13:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-13-12

Published: 27 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of a noninvasive ultrasound-based method, vibro-acoustography (VA), for thyroid imaging and determine the feasibility and challenges of VA in detecting nodules in thyroid.

Methods

Our study included two parts. First, in an in vitro study, experiments were conducted on a number of excised thyroid specimens randomly taken from autopsy. Three types of images were acquired from most of the specimens: X-ray, B-mode ultrasound, and vibro-acoustography. The second and main part of the study includes results from performing VA and B-mode ultrasound imaging on 24 human subjects with thyroid nodules. The results were evaluated and compared qualitatively.

Results

In vitro vibro-acoustography images displayed soft tissue structures, microcalcifications, cysts and nodules with high contrast and no speckle. In this group, all of US proven nodules and all of X-ray proven calcifications of thyroid tissues were detected by VA. In vivo results showed 100% of US proven calcifications and 91% of the US detected nodules were identified by VA, however, some artifacts were present in some cases.

Conclusions

In vitro and in vivo VA images show promising results for delineating the detailed structure of the thyroid, finding nodules and in particular calcifications with greater clarity compare to US. Our findings suggest that, with further development, VA may be a suitable imaging modality for clinical thyroid imaging.

Keywords:
Elasticity imaging techniques; Vibro-acoustography; Thyroid neoplasm; Thyroid nodule; Ultrasound; Imaging