This article examines the theoretical limitations of the local inversion techniques for the measurement of the tissue elasticity. Most of these techniques are based on the estimation of the phase speed or the algebraic inversion of a one-dimensional wave equation. To analyze these techniques, the wave equation in an elastic continuum is revisited. It is proven that in an infinite medium, harmonic shear waves can travel at any phase speed greater than the classically known shear wave speed, mu/rho, by demonstrating this for a special case with cylindrical symmetry. Hence in addition to the mechanical properties of the tissue, the phase speed depends on the geometry of the wave as well. The elastic waves in an infinite cylindrical rod are studied. It is proven that multiple phase speeds can coexist for a harmonic wave at a single frequency. This shows that the phase speed depends not only on the mechanical properties of the tissue but also on its shape. The final conclusion is that the only way to avoid theoretical artifacts in the elastograms obtained by the local inversion techniques is to use the shear wave equation as expressed in the curl of the displacements, i.e., the rotations, for the inversion.
Theoretical limitations of the elastic wave ... [J Acoust Soc Am. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI