Pathological changes in biological tissue are related to the changes in mechanical properties of biological tissue. Conventional medical screening tools such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography have failed to produce the elastic properties of biological tissues directly. Ultrasound elasticity imaging (UEI) has been proposed as a promising imaging tool to map the elastic parameters of soft tissues for the clinical diagnosis of various diseases include prostate, liver, breast, and thyroid gland. Existing UEI-based approaches can be classified into three groups: internal physiologic excitation, external excitation, and acoustic radiation force (ARF) excitation methods. Among these methods, ARF has become one of the most popular techniques for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of disease. This paper provides comprehensive information on the recently developed ARF-based UEI techniques and instruments for biomedical applications. The mechanical properties of soft tissue, ARF and displacement estimation methods, working principle and implementation instruments for each ARF-based UEI method are discussed.
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