Skip to main content
Impact of local attenuation approximations when estimating correlation length from backscattered ultrasound echoes
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (2006)
  • Timothy A. Bigelow, University of North Dakota
  • William D. O'Brien, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Estimating the characteristic correlation length of tissue microstructure from the backscattered power spectrum could improve the diagnostic capability of medical ultrasound. Previously, size estimates were obtained after compensating for source focusing, the frequency-dependent attenuation along the propagation path (total attenuation), and the frequency-dependent attenuation in the scattering region (local attenuation). In this study, the impact of approximations of the local attenuation on the scatterer size estimate was determined using computer simulations and theoretical analysis. The simulations used Gaussian impedance distributions with an effective radius of 25 μm randomly positioned in a homogeneous half-space sonified by a spherically focused source (f/1 to f/4). The approximations of the local attenuation that were assessed neglected local attenuation (i.e., assume 0 dB/cm-MHz) neglected frequency dependence of the local attenuation, and assumed a finite frequency dependence (i.e., 0.5 dB/cm-MHz) independent of the true attenuation of the medium. Errors in the scatterer size estimate due to the local attenuation approximations increased with increasing window length, increasing true local attenuation and increasing f number. The most robust estimates were obtained when the local attenuation was approximated by a tissue-independent attenuation value that was greater than 70% of the largest attenuation expected in the tissue region of interest.

  • attenuation,
  • backscattering,
  • microstructure,
  • natural frequencies,
  • frequency-dependent attenuation,
  • Gaussian impedance distributions,
  • ultrasonics,
  • computer simulation,
  • correlation analysis,
  • diagnostic accuracy,
  • frequency modulation,
  • impedance,
  • normal distribution,
  • radiation attenuation,
  • ultrasound,
  • computer simulation,
  • ultrasonography
Publication Date
July, 2006
Publisher Statement
Copyright 2006 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America.
Citation Information
Timothy A. Bigelow and William D. O'Brien. "Impact of local attenuation approximations when estimating correlation length from backscattered ultrasound echoes" Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Vol. 120 Iss. 1 (2006)
Available at: