Indexed on: 08 Nov '18Published on: 08 Nov '18Published in: IEEE transactions on medical imaging
Quasi-static elasticity imaging techniques rely on model-based mathematical inverse methods to estimate mechanical parameters from force-displacement measurements. These techniques introduce simplifying assumptions that preclude exploration of unknown mechanical properties with potential diagnostic value. We previously reported a data-driven approach to elasticity imaging using artificial neural networks (NNs) that circumvents limitations associated with model-based inverse methods. NN constitutive models can learn stress-strain behavior from forcedisplacement measurements using the Autoprogressive method (AutoP) without prior assumptions of the underlying constitutive model. However, information about internal structure was required. We invented Cartesian neural network constitutive models (CaNNCMs) that learn the spatial variations of material properties. We are presenting the first implementation of CaNNCMs trained with AutoP to develop data-driven models of 2-D linear-elastic materials. Both simulated and experimental force-displacement data were used as input to AutoP to show that CaNNCMs are able to model both continuous and discrete material property distributions with no prior information of internal object structure. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CaNNCMs are robust to measurement noise and can reconstruct reasonably accurate Young's modulus images from a sparse sampling of measurement data. CaNNCMs are an important step toward clinical use of data-driven elasticity imaging using AutoP.