Purpose: Patient-specific biomedical modeling of the breast is of interest for medical applications such as image registration, image guided procedures and the alignment for biopsy or surgery purposes. The computation of elastic properties is essential to simulate deformations in a realistic way. This study presents an innovative analytical method to compute the elastic modulus and evaluate the elasticity of a breast using magnetic resonance (MRI) images of breast phantoms.
Methods: An analytical method for elasticity computation was developed and subsequently validated on a series of geometric shapes, and on four physical breast phantoms that are supported by a planar frame. This method can compute the elasticity of a shape directly from a set of MRI scans. For comparison, elasticity values were also computed numerically using two different simulation software packages.
Results: Application of the different methods on the geometric shapes shows that the analytically derived elongation differs from simulated elongation by less than 9% for cylindrical shapes, and up to 18% for other shapes that are also substantially vertically supported by a planar base. For the four physical breast phantoms, the analytically derived elasticity differs from numeric elasticity by 18% on average, which is in accordance with the difference in elongation estimation for the geometric shapes. The analytic method has shown to be multiple orders of magnitude faster than the numerical methods.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that the analytical elasticity computation method has good potential to supplement or replace numerical elasticity simulations in gravity-induced deformations, for shapes that are substantially supported by a planar base perpendicular to the gravitational field. The error is manageable, while the calculation procedure takes less than one second as opposed to multiple minutes with numerical methods. The results will be used in the MRI and Ultrasound Robotic Assisted Biopsy (MURAB) project.
Keywords: Biopsy; Breast; Elastic calibration; Magnetic resonance imaging.