High-resolution Ultrasonic Transmission Tomography (HUTT) is a novel 3D imaging technology being developed at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. The HUTT system employs extremely short ultrasonic wave pulses (about 250 nanosecond) of 4-12 megahertz frequency. Unlike regular ultrasound, the transmitted pulses come from a group of small ultrasonic transducers. Also unlike regular ultrasound, these pulses are picked up by a parallel array of receivers that is located on the opposite side of the tissue that is being visualised. People familiar with HUTT believe that this modality can produce “3D images of soft tissue that are superior to those produced by existing commercial X-ray, ultrasound or MRI units.”
Some promising features of this technology:
— Robust algorithmic tools enable HUTT to differentiate separate types of tissue based on their distinctive “frequency-dependent attenuation” profiles, that should allow clinicians to distinguish malignant lesions from benign growths in a non-invasive and highly reliable manner.
— In addition to improved resolution, the system can locate tissue features with extreme precision in a objective, fixed-coordinate 3D grid, crucial for guiding surgical procedures.
— Scans can be performed in a matter of a few minutes and because they are ultrasonic, they do not use potentially harmful ionizing radiation.
— The system requires a minimum of special pre-scan procedures and appears likely, in clinical use, to be more comfortable for patients than alternatives.
In the picture above, one can see how different tissues in the same organ (i.e. kidney) display different attenuation profiles. From left to right, 1: overall view. 2. capsule (blue) 3. blood vessels (red) 4. papillary ducts, (magenta) 5. calyces (green).
The press release at USC…
To learn more about HUTT, read this story at USC…