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Imaging the Vocal Folds: A Feasibility Study on Strain Imaging and Elastography of Porcine Vocal Folds

Institute of Measurement and Sensor Technology, UMIT—Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, 6060 Hall in Tirol, Austria
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Division of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(13), 2729;
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 26 June 2019 / Accepted: 2 July 2019 / Published: 5 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Methods and Engineering Solutions to Voice)
PDF [8629 KB, uploaded 5 July 2019]


Vocal folds are an essential part of human voice production. The biomechanical properties are a good indicator for pathological changes. In particular, as an oscillation system, changes in the biomechanical properties have an impact on the vibration behavior. Subsequently, those changes could lead to voice-related disturbances. However, no existing examination combines biomechanical properties and spatial imaging. Therefore, we propose an image registration-based approach, using ultrasound in order to gain this information synchronously. We used a quasi-static load to compress the tissue and measured the displacement by image registration. The strain distribution was directly calculated from the displacement field, whereas the elastic properties were estimated by a finite element model. In order to show the feasibility and reliability of the algorithm, we tested it on gelatin phantoms. Further, by examining ex vivo porcine vocal folds, we were able to show the practicability of the approach. We displayed the strain distribution in the tissue and the elastic properties of the vocal folds. The results were superimposed on the corresponding ultrasound images. The findings are promising and show the feasibility of the suggested approach. Possible applications are in improved diagnosis of voice disorders, by measuring the biomechanical properties of the vocal folds with ultrasound. The transducer will be placed on the vocal folds of the anesthetized patient, and the elastic properties will be measured. Further, the understanding of the vocal folds’ biomechanics and the voice forming process could benefit from it. View Full-Text
Keywords: vocal folds; elastography; image-registration; OpenQSEI; ultrasound vocal folds; elastography; image-registration; OpenQSEI; ultrasound

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Lamprecht, R.; Maghzinajafabadi, M.; Semmler, M.; Sutor, A. Imaging the Vocal Folds: A Feasibility Study on Strain Imaging and Elastography of Porcine Vocal Folds. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 2729.

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