Acoustic Radiation Force-Induced Creep-Recovery (ARFICR): A Noninvasive Method to Characterize Tissue Viscoelasticity

Carolina Amador Carrascal, Shigao Chen, Matthew W. Urban, James F. Greenleaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ultrasound shear wave elastography is a promising noninvasive, low cost, and clinically viable tool for liver fibrosis staging. Current shear wave imaging technologies on clinical ultrasound scanners ignore shear wave dispersion and use a single group velocity measured over the shear wave bandwidth to estimate tissue elasticity. The center frequency and bandwidth of shear waves induced by acoustic radiation force depend on the ultrasound push beam (push duration, F-number, etc.) and the viscoelasticity of the medium, and therefore are different across scanners from different vendors. As a result, scanners from different vendors may give different tissue elasticity measurements within the same patient. Various methods have been proposed to evaluate shear wave dispersion to better estimate tissue viscoelasticity. A rheological model such as the Kelvin-Voigt model is typically fitted to the shear wave dispersion to solve for the elasticity and viscosity of tissue. However, these rheological models impose strong assumptions about frequency dependence of elasticity and viscosity. Here, we propose a new method called Acoustic Radiation Force Induced Creep-Recovery (ARFICR) capable of quantifying rheological model-independent measurements of elasticity and viscosity for more robust tissue health assessment. In ARFICR, the creep-recovery time signal at the focus of the push beam is used to calculate the relative elasticity and viscosity (scaled by an unknown constant) over a wide frequency range. Shear waves generated during the ARFICR measurement are also detected and used to calculate the shear wave velocity at its center frequency, which is then used to calibrate the relative elasticity and viscosity to absolute elasticity and viscosity. In this paper, finite-element method simulations and experiments in tissue mimicking phantoms are used to validate and characterize the extent of viscoelastic quantification of ARFICR. The results suggest that ARFICR can measure tissue viscoelasticity reliably. Moreover, the results showed the strong frequency dependence of viscoelastic parameters in tissue mimicking phantoms and healthy liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8089769
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Elastography
  • liver
  • viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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