Method and System of Elasto-Optical Tomography for Breast Cancer Imaging
Background: Currently, X-ray mammography is the widely accepted method for the detection of changes in the breast that may be cancer. However, this screening technique lacks specificity to determine whether detected abnormalities are either benign or malignant. A significant number of suspicious masses referred by mammography for surgical biopsy are in fact, found to be benign. These false-positive mammograms may cause patient anxiety and lead to increase healthcare costs. Technology: To overcome these limitations associated with mammography, efforts have been made to develop new techniques which can offer better tumor detection and characterization. University of California researchers have developed a new imaging modality called elasto-optical tomography to detect and characterize breast tissue abnormalities based on reconstructed elastic and optical indicators.
Elasto-optical tomography combines elastography with diffuse optical tomography (DOT) and makes measurements at two different levels of breast compression. The purpose of this development is to provide higher specificity and more useful information for breast cancer diagnosis. The interaction of mechanical compression with optical absorption and scattering enables the presentation of micro-structural information which can be used to identify and characterize breast carcinoma from normal breast tissue.
Either elastography or DOT is used to differentiate malignant masses from normal tissue based on one specific property of the tissue. Elasto-optical tomography is a multi-modal technique and not only depends on two distinct properties of the tissue (elastic or optical) but also takes into account the interactions of these two properties on each other, thereby establishing a unique and robust tool for breast cancer detection. Application: The proposed invention can be complemented in the current medical imaging systems such as MR-guided DOT.
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