Imaging breast microcalcifications is crucial for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. It is challenging for ultrasound to image breast microcalcifications. Synthetic-aperture ultrasound imaging has the potential to significantly improve ultrasound imaging. Our custom-built, real-time synthetic-aperture ultrasound system makes it possible for clinical studies of super-resolution ultrasound imaging. We recently developed a super-resolution ultrasound imaging method based on the phase-coherent multiple-signal-classification (PC-MUSIC). The method accounts for the phase response of transducer elements to improve image resolution. In this paper, we investigate the clinical feasibility of our super-resolution ultrasound imaging method for detecting breast microcalcifications. We use our synthetic-aperture ultrasound system to acquire breast ultrasound data for 40 patients whose mammograms show the presence of breast microcalcifications. We apply our super-resolution ultrasound imaging method to the patient data, and produce clear images of breast calcifications. Synthetic-aperture ultrasound with our super-resolution PC-MUSIC imaging algorithm provides a new imaging modality for detection of breast microcalcifications.
Keywords: Breast microcalcification, multiple-signal-classification, phase-coherent, super-resolution, synthetic-aperture ultrasound, ultrasound imaging
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