We report on results from the comparison of two algorithms designed to estimate the attenuation coefficient from ultrasonic B-mode scans obtained from a numerical phantom simulating an ultrasound breast scan. It is well documented that this parameter significantly diverges between normal tissue and malignant lesions. To improve the diagnostic accuracy it is of great importance to devise and test algorithms that facilitate the accurate, low variance and spatially resolved estimation of the tissue's attenuation properties. A numerical phantom is realized using k-Wave, which is an open source Matlab toolbox for the time-domain simulation of acoustic wave fields that facilitates both linear and nonlinear wave propagation in homogeneous and heterogeneous tissue, as compared to strictly linear ultrasound simulation tools like Field II. k-Wave allows to simulate arbitrary distributions, resolved down to single voxel sizes, of parameters including the speed of sound, mass density, scattering strength and to include power law acoustic absorption necessary for simulation tasks in medical diagnostic ultrasound. We analyze the properties and the attainable accuracy of both the spectral-log-difference technique, and a statistical moments based approach and compare the results to known reference values from the sound field simulation.
Keywords: attenuation imaging; k-Wave; method of moments; spectral log difference technique; tissue mimicking materials; ultrasound imaging; ultrasound simulation.