Acoustic Waves in Medical Imaging and Diagnostics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Up until about two decades ago acoustic imaging and ultrasound imaging were synonymous. The term ultrasonography, or its abbreviated version sonography, meant an imaging modality based on the use of ultrasonic compressional bulk waves. Beginning in the 1990s, there started to emerge numerous acoustic imaging modalities based on the use of a different mode of acoustic wave: shear waves. Imaging with these waves was shown to provide very useful and very different information about the biological tissue being examined. We discuss the physical basis for the differences between these two basic modes of acoustic waves used in medical imaging and analyze the advantages associated with shear acoustic imaging. A comprehensive analysis of the range of acoustic wavelengths, velocities and frequencies that have been used in different imaging applications is presented. We discuss the potential for future shear wave imaging applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1146
Number of pages14
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Acoustic imaging
  • Anisotropy
  • Compressional wave
  • Dispersion
  • Elasticity
  • Shear wave
  • Viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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