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Novel Measurement Technique of Acoustic Impedance of Healing Bone Using Pulsed Ultrasound

Novel Measurement Technique of Acoustic Impedance of Healing Bone Using Pulsed Ultrasound

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Published by: Feras Mohammed Siddig on Oct 13, 2012
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Novel Measurement Technique of Acoustic Impedance of Healing Bone Using Pulsed Ultrasound

American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE b00025422@aus.edu, g00025587@aus.edu, b00023744@aus.edu, hnashash@aus.edu, nqaddoumi@aus.edu

Abstract – In this paper, a novel method for the measurement of acoustic impedance of biological and non biological materials is presented. This is needed for the ultimate goal of designing a noninvasive method for quantification of bone healing process using ultrasound waves. Results show that the method is accurate to within ±2% of the published values. The acoustic impedances of both mediums can be used to compute the reflection coefficient:



Bone fracture healing rates vary among individuals, affected by different factors such as age, nutrition, type and location of fracture [1]. Physicians and anatomists usually summarize the healing process in four main stages which are: inflammation, soft callus formation, hard callus formation and remodelling of the new bone [2]. When a bone is fractured, the fractured area gets filled with soft callus which begins to harden with time. As bone heals, the hard callus layer begins to decay and the fractured bone restores strength and shape. The acoustic impedance and size of callus change at each healing stage. Thus, exploiting the acoustic impedance will reveal information about the healing stage of bone and enables us to quantify the healing level. This allows better treatment and gives the physician more information about the status of the bone. Many monitoring techniques used nowadays depend on repeated exposure to X-rays which has a harmful ionizing effect on the body [3]. Other techniques such as MRI and CT scan are relatively expensive [4]. Hence, there is a need for an alternative technique to monitor the bone fracture healing process with fewer side effects and allow repeatable measurements. A-scan pulsed ultrasound biometry may provide an alternative method to quantify the status of the bone healing process. This may be accomplished if the acoustic impedance of healing bone is accurately determined. In this paper, we present a novel method for measuring the acoustic impedance of some related biological materials. When ultrasound waves propagate from a medium to another, part of it is transmitted through the second medium and the rest is reflected back to the first medium. The ratio of the reflected to the incident signals is called the reflection coefficient (Γ). It depends on the physical properties of the two mediums, and mainly on their acoustic impedances (Z).


Z 2  Z1 Z 2  Z1


In this work, it is hypothesized that the reflection coefficient associated with the callus layer of the healing bone is related with the degree or level of healing process. The rationale behind this hypothesis is based on the fact that the callus layer changes density and dimensions during the healing process, thus altering the acoustic impedance and reflection coefficient. An accurate measure of the reflection coefficient of pulsed ultrasound will enable us to assess the level of healing process.



Fig. 1 shows a structure composed of three layers including two layers of water and a material with unknown acoustic impedance. Z1 and Z2 are the acoustic impedances of water and material under investigation, respectively. Due to variations of acoustic impedances, multiple reflections will take place. The proposed technique relies on the measurement of these reflections at the transducer side. Define: Vr1 is the first reflection from the surface of material, Vi3 is the second reflection reaching the transducer after the first round of internal reflections Vt5 is the third reflection reaching the transducer after the second round of internal reflections. Let:

K1 

Vr1 Vt 3



K2 

Vt 3 Vt 5


Table 1: Acoustic impedance results of different materials
Material Publishe d Acoustic Impedance (MRayl) Average %Error

It can be shown that:


1 K 1 2 K1


Aluminum Tendon Cartilage Bone

17.0 1.4 1.85 6.43

16.74 1.37 1.88 6.38

1.52% 2.00% 1.62% 0.80%



A novel technique for measuring the acoustic impedance of biological materials related to bone healing process is developed. The technique was tested on tendon, cartilage and bone using pulsed ultrasound waves. The obtained acoustic impedance values agree with the published ones. It is worth mentioning that the developed method is also applicable to non biological materials.

Fig.1: multi reflections of a 3-layered system [1] G. Wolfgang “Optel Ultrasonic Technology”. Available: www.optel.pl, 2003. [2] B. Sanderlin “Common Stress Fractures” American Family Physician. American Association of Family Physicians vol.68 number 8, pp. 1527-32, Oct. 2003. [3] G. O’Mara, Sims E., Dorra H., Perkash I., and Kiratli B. “Etiology and Morphology of Long Bone Etiology and Morphology of Long Bone After Spinal Cord Injury,” in Orthopedic Surgery, 2004. [4] M. Mohamed, Skiaat L. and Mahmoud A. “Propagation of Ultrasonic Waves Through Demineralized Cancellous Bone”. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, vol. 50, March 2003. [5] P.N.T. Wells, Biomedical Ultrasonics, Academic Press, 1977



To validate the proposed technique, samples of Aluminum and some selected relevant biological materials such as bone, tendon, and cartilage were considered. The Aluminum was used for calibration purposes because it has a standard and well documented acoustic impedance. The commercially available OPTEL transducer was used to conduct an A-scan of the system shown in Fig. 1, where layers 1 and 3 were water while layer 2 was the material under investigation. The reflection coefficient was used to calculate the acoustic impedance of the material under investigation using the model derived earlier in section III. Table 1 shows the obtained results of the acoustic impedance for the different materials. Column two of Table 1 lists the published acoustic impedance values of the materials under investigation [5]. The results validate the developed technique for quantifying the acoustic impedance of different materials.

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