Iterative simulations to estimate the elastic properties from a series of MRI images followed by MRI-US validation

Med Biol Eng Comput. 2019 Apr;57(4):913-924. doi: 10.1007/s11517-018-1931-z. Epub 2018 Nov 27.


The modeling of breast deformations is of interest in medical applications such as image-guided biopsy, or image registration for diagnostic purposes. In order to have such information, it is needed to extract the mechanical properties of the tissues. In this work, we propose an iterative technique based on finite element analysis that estimates the elastic modulus of realistic breast phantoms, starting from MRI images acquired in different positions (prone and supine), when deformed only by the gravity force. We validated the method using both a single-modality evaluation in which we simulated the effect of the gravity force to generate four different configurations (prone, supine, lateral, and vertical) and a multi-modality evaluation in which we simulated a series of changes in orientation (prone to supine). Validation is performed, respectively, on surface points and lesions using as ground-truth data from MRI images, and on target lesions inside the breast phantom compared with the actual target segmented from the US image. The use of pre-operative images is limited at the moment to diagnostic purposes. By using our method we can compute patient-specific mechanical properties that allow compensating deformations. Graphical Abstract Workflow of the proposed method and comparative results of the prone-to-supine simulation (red volumes) validated using MRI data (blue volumes).

Keywords: Breast; Deformable models; Elastic properties; Image alignment; Magnetic resonance imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Elasticity*
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Ultrasonography*