JP5368938B2 - Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment - Google Patents

Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment Download PDF

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JP5368938B2
JP5368938B2 JP2009246699A JP2009246699A JP5368938B2 JP 5368938 B2 JP5368938 B2 JP 5368938B2 JP 2009246699 A JP2009246699 A JP 2009246699A JP 2009246699 A JP2009246699 A JP 2009246699A JP 5368938 B2 JP5368938 B2 JP 5368938B2
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image
ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus
region
ultrasonic diagnostic
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JP2011092264A (en
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隆也 宇野
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日立アロカメディカル株式会社
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Abstract

<P>PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide image processing showing a timewise change in the form of a target region. <P>SOLUTION: An ultrasonic image forming part 20 forms a fundamental wave image and a higher harmonics image as ultrasonic images and a binarization processing part 22 applies binarization processing using a threshold value to the higher harmonics image of an ultrasonic wave and discriminates between an image region relatively high in brightness and an image region relatively low in brightness. A contrast region specification part 24 specifies a contrast medium region from the image region relatively high in brightness selected by the binarization processing and utilizes labelling processing to specify the contrast medium region. A display image forming part 26 applies display processing showing the timewise change in the form of the contrast medium to the higher harmonics image specified in the contrast medium region and further utilizes the fundamental wave image obtained from the ultrasonic image forming part 20 to form a display image. <P>COPYRIGHT: (C)2011,JPO&amp;INPIT

Description

  The present invention relates to an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, and more particularly to image processing for an ultrasonic image.

  2. Description of the Related Art An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus that images an ultrasonic contrast agent is known. For example, a contrast agent is administered to a living body, and a contrast agent flowing through a blood vessel or the like in the living body is imaged based on a harmonic component contained in a reception signal obtained by transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves to the living body. Is done.

  For example, Patent Document 1 describes a technique for imaging a state of inflow / outflow of a contrast agent using a difference between a latest ultrasonic image and a previous ultrasonic image. Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. H10-228561 describes a technique for imaging a flow of a contrast medium using ultrasonic waves having a strength that causes the contrast medium to disappear and ultrasonic waves having a strength that does not cause the contrast medium to disappear.

JP 2001-269341 A JP 2001-252270 A

  In view of the above-described background art, the inventors of the present application have conducted research and development on the display of a target region into which, for example, a contrast medium or the like has flowed. In particular, attention has been focused on a display capable of grasping the inflow route and the inflow time of the contrast agent, for example.

  The present invention has been made in the course of research and development, and an object of the present invention is to provide a new image processing showing a change in the temporal form of a target region.

  An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus suitable for the above object includes a probe that transmits and receives ultrasonic waves, a transmission unit that controls transmission of the probe, a reception unit that obtains an ultrasonic reception signal via the probe, and an ultrasonic wave based on the reception signal. An image forming unit that forms a sonic image, a candidate region selection unit that selects a candidate region in an ultrasound image by discrimination processing using a threshold, and a temporal change in the region from among the selected candidate regions A target region specifying unit that specifies the target region, and a display processing unit that performs a display process that indicates a temporal change in the target region on the ultrasound image to form a display image. It is characterized by that.

  In a desirable specific example, the target region specifying unit discriminates candidate regions into a plurality of isolated regions in the ultrasonic image by a labeling process, and a plurality of isolated regions based on temporal changes in each isolated region. The target area is specified from among the above.

  In a preferred specific example, the target region specifying unit calculates a temporal change amount of the size for each isolated region and specifies the target region based on the change amount.

  In a desirable specific example, the display processing unit forms the display image based on ultrasonic images of a plurality of time phases obtained by performing visual identification processing on the target region for each time phase. And

  In a desirable specific example, the display processing unit performs the coloring process according to the time phase on the target region for each time phase to form the display image.

  In a desirable specific example, the display processing unit forms the display image by superimposing ultrasonic images of a plurality of time phases subjected to the coloring process for each time phase.

  In a preferred embodiment, the image forming unit forms a harmonic ultrasonic image based on a harmonic component of a received signal, and the candidate region selecting unit uses a threshold value in the harmonic ultrasonic image. The candidate region that is a candidate for the contrast region into which the contrast agent has flowed is selected by the conversion processing, the target region specifying unit specifies the contrast region as the target region from the candidate regions, and the display processing unit A display image is formed by performing a display process indicating a temporal change in the contrast region on the harmonic ultrasonic image.

  In a preferred embodiment, the image forming unit forms a fundamental ultrasonic image based on a fundamental wave component of a received signal in addition to the harmonic ultrasonic image, and the display processing unit performs the display process. A synthesized image is synthesized with the fundamental ultrasonic image and a display image is formed.

  According to the present invention, a new image processing showing a change in temporal shape of a target region is provided.

1 is a diagram illustrating an overall configuration of an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus that is preferable in the practice of the present invention. It is a figure which shows the process until a contrast area | region is specified. It is a figure which shows the process until a display image is formed.

  Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described.

  FIG. 1 is a diagram showing an overall configuration of an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus suitable for implementing the present invention. The probe 10 is an ultrasonic probe that transmits and receives ultrasonic waves to a subject such as a living body. The probe 10 includes a plurality of vibration elements each transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves.

  The transmission control unit 12 forms an ultrasonic transmission beam by controlling transmission of a plurality of vibration elements included in the probe 10. The reception processing unit 14 processes signals obtained from a plurality of vibration elements included in the probe 10, thereby forming an ultrasonic reception beam and obtaining a reception signal along the reception beam. In the reception processing unit 14, various filter processes such as detection, quadrature detection, logarithmic compression processing, spatial filter processing, and frequency analysis processing are appropriately executed.

  The ultrasonic image forming unit 20 forms image data of an ultrasonic image based on the reception signal obtained from the reception processing unit 14. For each frame, the ultrasonic image forming unit 20 forms image data from reception signals relating to a plurality of reception beams belonging to the frame, and sequentially forms a plurality of image data corresponding to the plurality of frames.

  The ultrasonic image forming unit 20 forms a fundamental wave image and a harmonic image as an ultrasonic image. That is, the ultrasound image forming unit 20 forms a fundamental wave image (fundamental image) based on the fundamental wave component included in the received signal, and also generates a harmonic image (harmonic) based on the harmonic component included in the received signal. Echo image).

  The binarization processing unit 22 performs binarization processing using a threshold value on the ultrasonic harmonic image (image data), and discriminates between an image region having a relatively high luminance and an image region having a relatively low luminance. To do. In this embodiment, an ultrasound contrast agent administered to the subject is imaged. The reflected wave of the ultrasonic wave obtained from the contrast agent contains a relatively large amount of harmonic components. For this reason, the image portion of the contrast agent has a relatively high luminance in the harmonic image. Therefore, the binarization process extracts the image portion of the contrast agent as an image region having a relatively high luminance.

  However, there are sites in the subject that have relatively high luminance, such as a subcutaneous fat layer and a diaphragm. Therefore, when an image region having a relatively high luminance is selected by binarization processing, a high luminance portion such as a subcutaneous fat layer may be selected in addition to the contrast agent image portion. Therefore, the contrast area specifying unit 24 specifies the area of the contrast agent from the image areas having relatively high brightness selected by the binarization process. The contrast region specifying unit 24 specifies the region of the contrast agent using a labeling process or the like.

  The display image forming unit 26 performs a display process indicating a change in temporal form of the contrast agent on the harmonic image in which the region of the contrast agent is specified, and further, the basic image obtained from the ultrasonic image forming unit 20 A display image is formed using the wave image. As a result, a display image showing a change in the temporal form of the contrast agent, for example, a state in which the contrast agent flows in the blood vessel of the subject and proceeds, is displayed on the display unit 30.

  Next, image forming processing by the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus in FIG. 1 will be described in detail. In addition, about the part (structure) already shown in FIG. 1, the code | symbol of FIG. 1 is utilized also in the following description.

  FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the processing until the contrast region is specified. FIG. 2 illustrates image examples from frames F1 to F4 in each processing stage from (A) to (C). .

  FIG. 2A shows an example of an image obtained by binarization processing. When the harmonic image of the ultrasonic wave is binarized in the binarization processing unit 22 and an image region having a relatively high luminance is selected, for example, as shown in FIG. In addition to 52, a high brightness portion 54 such as a subcutaneous fat layer is also selected.

  Therefore, the contrast area specifying unit 24 uses a known labeling process to discriminate the area selected as the relatively bright image area into a plurality of isolated areas in the binarized harmonic image. To do. If there are many isolated points due to noise or the like as a result of the binarization process, a filtering process such as expansion or contraction is performed on the binarized image before the labeling process. You may make it remove a noise component.

  FIG. 2B shows an example of a labeled image. That is, the image portion 52 and the other high-intensity portion 54 of the contrast medium selected in FIG. 2A are discriminated as different isolated regions by the labeling process, for example, as in the example shown in FIG. The label # 1 is attached to the image portion 52 of the contrast medium, and the label # 2 is attached to the other high-intensity portion 54.

  Then, the contrast region specifying unit 24 specifies a contrast agent image region from among a plurality of isolated regions based on a temporal change in the form of each isolated region labeled. For example, the amount of change in area between adjacent frames is calculated for each isolated region. Then, when the amount of change is larger than a predetermined amount, the isolated region is set as the contrast agent image region.

  For example, in the image example shown in FIG. 2B, the area of the isolated region labeled with the label # 1 changes relatively large between the frames F1 and F2. Therefore, it is determined that the amount of change in area is larger than a predetermined amount, and is determined as an image area of a contrast agent. On the other hand, the area of the isolated region labeled # 2 hardly changes between the frames F1 and F2. Therefore, it is determined that the amount of change in area is smaller than a predetermined amount, and it is determined that the area is not an image area of a contrast agent. As a result, as in the example shown in FIG. 2C, the image portion 52 of the contrast medium is specified from a plurality of isolated regions.

  Note that a frame (time) in which an isolated region in which an area change amount between adjacent frames is larger than a predetermined amount may be detected as a contrast agent inflow start time. Further, a change amount such as a volume may be used instead of the change amount of the area.

  As shown in FIG. 2C, when the contrast agent image portion 52 is specified by the contrast region specifying unit 24, a display image is then formed by the display image forming unit 26. Therefore, the continuation of the image processing for the image example of FIG. 2 will be described below.

  FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a process until a display image is formed. FIG. 3 shows an example of images from frames F1 to F4 in each processing stage from (D) to (F), which is executed subsequent to the processes from (A) to (C) in FIG.

  FIG. 3D shows a coloring process for the image portion 52 of the contrast agent. The display image forming unit 26 performs a coloring process corresponding to each frame (time phase) on the image portion 52 of the contrast agent. For example, a color corresponding to the frame is assigned to each frame, and different colors are given to the image portion 52 of the contrast medium over a plurality of frames.

  In FIG. 3, the difference in color is expressed by the difference in the filling pattern related to the image portion 52 of the contrast agent. Of course, in an actual ultrasonic image, instead of a color difference, an expression based on a pattern difference may be used.

  When the coloring process corresponding to each frame is performed on the image portion 52 of the contrast agent, the display image forming unit 26 superimposes the images of the plurality of frames subjected to the coloring process. For example, the display image forming unit 26 superimposes the images of a plurality of frames so that the images of the past frames are placed on the upper side.

  FIG. 3E shows the superposition of images of a plurality of frames. For example, the image of the frame F2 of FIG. 3E is formed by superimposing the image of the frame F1 of FIG. 3D on the image of the frame F2 of FIG. Further, the image of the frame F2 of FIG. 3D is overlaid on the image of the frame F3 of FIG. 3D, and further the image of the frame F1 of FIG. An image of the frame F3 of E) is formed. In this way, the state in which the image portion 52 of the contrast agent changes and advances for each frame is imaged.

  Further, the display image forming unit 26 synthesizes the image of FIG. 3E obtained by superimposing the images of a plurality of frames and the fundamental wave image obtained from the ultrasonic image forming unit 20 to obtain the image shown in FIG. A display image like the example shown in FIG.

  The display image shown in FIG. 3F also includes an image of the surrounding tissue of the blood vessel 60 obtained based on the fundamental wave image. Therefore, the progress of the contrast medium in the blood vessel 60 obtained based on the harmonic image can be visually understood very clearly. In particular, since the contrast agent part is expressed in each frame, that is, for each time phase, in a color corresponding to the time phase, the temporal passage of the contrast agent in addition to the path through which the contrast agent flows is also visually observed. Can be easily grasped.

  As mentioned above, although preferred embodiment of this invention was described, embodiment mentioned above is only a mere illustration in all the points, and does not limit the scope of the present invention. The present invention includes various modifications without departing from the essence thereof.

  20 ultrasonic image forming unit, 22 binarization processing unit, 24 contrast region specifying unit, 26 display image forming unit, 30 display unit.

Claims (8)

  1. A probe for transmitting and receiving ultrasound,
    A transmission unit for controlling transmission of the probe;
    A receiving unit for obtaining an ultrasonic reception signal via a probe;
    An image forming unit that forms an ultrasonic image based on the received signal;
    A candidate area selection unit that selects a candidate area in an ultrasound image by discrimination processing using a threshold;
    A target area specifying unit that specifies a target area based on a change in temporal form of the area from among the selected candidate areas,
    A display processing unit that forms a display image by performing a display process that shows a change in temporal form of the target region on the ultrasonic image;
    Having
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  2. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 1,
    The target area specifying unit discriminates candidate areas into a plurality of isolated areas in an ultrasonic image by a labeling process, and selects the target area from a plurality of isolated areas based on a temporal change in each isolated area. Identify the area,
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  3. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 2,
    The target area specifying unit calculates a temporal change amount of the size for each isolated area and specifies the target area based on the change amount.
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  4. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3,
    The display processing unit forms the display image based on an ultrasonic image of a plurality of time phases subjected to visual identification processing for the target region for each time phase.
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  5. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 4,
    The display processing unit forms the display image by performing a coloring process according to the time phase for the target region for each time phase,
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  6. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 5,
    The display processing unit forms the display image by superimposing ultrasonic images of a plurality of time phases subjected to the coloring process for each time phase,
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  7. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6,
    The image forming unit forms a harmonic ultrasonic image based on the harmonic component of the received signal,
    The candidate region selection unit selects the candidate region that is a candidate for a contrast region into which a contrast agent has flowed by a binarization process using a threshold value in a harmonic ultrasound image,
    The target area specifying unit specifies a contrast area as the target area from the candidate areas,
    The display processing unit forms a display image by performing a display process showing a temporal change in the contrast region on the harmonic ultrasound image,
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
  8. The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 7,
    In addition to the harmonic ultrasonic image, the image forming unit forms a fundamental ultrasonic image based on a fundamental wave component of a received signal,
    The display processing unit synthesizes the harmonic ultrasonic image subjected to the display processing and the fundamental ultrasonic image to form a display image.
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
JP2009246699A 2009-10-27 2009-10-27 Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment Expired - Fee Related JP5368938B2 (en)

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JPH11137552A (en) * 1997-11-13 1999-05-25 Ge Yokogawa Medical Systems Ltd Contrast image displaying method and apparatus and medical image apparatus
JP4511679B2 (en) * 2000-03-24 2010-07-28 Geヘルスケア・ジャパン株式会社 Ultrasonic image generation method, ultrasonic image generation apparatus, and ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus
JP4763883B2 (en) * 2000-09-18 2011-08-31 株式会社東芝 Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment
JP4129199B2 (en) * 2003-04-21 2008-08-06 アロカ株式会社 Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment
JP4348310B2 (en) * 2004-09-30 2009-10-21 ジーイー・メディカル・システムズ・グローバル・テクノロジー・カンパニー・エルエルシー Ultrasonic imaging apparatus, image processing apparatus, and program
CN100473354C (en) * 2004-09-30 2009-04-01 Ge医药系统环球科技公司 Ultrasonic imaging apparatus, and image processing apparatus
JP3866742B2 (en) * 2004-11-15 2007-01-10 株式会社東芝 Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment
JP4842933B2 (en) * 2005-05-20 2011-12-21 株式会社日立メディコ Diagnostic imaging equipment
JP5053606B2 (en) * 2006-09-22 2012-10-17 東芝メディカルシステムズ株式会社 Medical image diagnostic apparatus and medical image processing apparatus
JP5263867B2 (en) * 2007-10-15 2013-08-14 ジーイー・メディカル・システムズ・グローバル・テクノロジー・カンパニー・エルエルシー Ultrasonic imaging device

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