Robust Short-Lag Spatial Coherence Imaging of Breast Ultrasound Data: Initial Clinical Results

Alycen Wiacek, Ole Marius Hoel Rindal, Eniola Falomo, Kelly Myers, Kelly Fabrega-Foster, Susan Harvey, Muyinatu A.Lediju Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrasound is frequently used in conjunction with mammography in order to detect breast cancer as early as possible. However, due largely to the heterogeneity of breast tissue, ultrasound images are plagued with clutter that obstructs important diagnostic features. Short-lag spatial coherence (SLSC) imaging has proven to be effective at clutter reduction in noisy ultrasound images. $M$-Weighted SLSC and Robust-SLSC (R-SLSC) imaging were recently introduced to further improve image quality at higher lag values, while R-SLSC imaging has the added benefit of enabling the adjustment of tissue texture to produce a tissue signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that is quantitatively similar to B-mode speckle SNR. This paper investigates the initial application of SLSC, $M$-Weighted SLSC, and R-SLSC imaging to nine targets in the female breast [two simple cysts, one complicated cyst, two fibroadenomas, one hematoma, one complex cystic and solid mass, one invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), and one ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)]. As expected, R-SLSC beamforming improves cyst and hematoma contrast by up to 6.35 and 1.55 dB, respectively, when compared to the original B-mode image, and similar improvements are achieved with SLSC and $M$-Weighted SLSC imaging. However, an interesting finding from this initial investigation is that the solid masses (i.e., fibroadenoma, complex cystic and solid mass, IDC, and DCIS), which appear as hypoechoic in the B-mode image, have similarly high coherence to that of surrounding tissue in coherence-based images. This work holds promise for using SLSC, $M$-Weighted SLSC, and/or R-SLSC imaging to distinguish between fluid-filled and solid hypoechoic breast masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8548567
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Breast ultrasound
  • coherence-based beamforming
  • compressed sensing
  • ultrasonic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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