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Improved Ultrasound Attenuation Estimation with Non-uniform Structure Detection and Removal

      Abstract

      Accurate detection of liver steatosis is important for liver disease management. Ultrasound attenuation coefficient estimation (ACE) has great potential in quantifying liver fat content. The ACE methods commonly assume uniform tissue characteristics. However, in vivo tissues typically contain non-uniform structures, which may bias the attenuation estimation and lead to large standard deviations. Here we propose a series of non-uniform structure detection and removal (NSDR) methods to reduce the impact from non-uniform structures during ACE analysis. The effectiveness of NSDR was validated through phantom and in vivo studies. In a pilot clinical study, ACE with NSDR provided more robust in vivo performance as compared with ACE without NSDR, indicating its potential for in vivo applications.

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