An important problem in minimally invasive photoacoustic (PA) imaging of brachytherapy seeds is reflection artifacts caused by the high signal from the optical fiber/needle tip reflecting off the seed. The presence of these artifacts confounds interpretation of images. In this letter, we demonstrate a recently developed concept called photoacoustic-guided focused ultrasound (PAFUSion) for the first time in the context of interstitial illumination PA imaging to identify and remove reflection artifacts. In this method, ultrasound (US) from the transducer is focused on the region of the optical fiber/needle tip identified in a first step using PA imaging. The image developed from the US diverging from the focus zone at the tip region visualizes only the reflections from seeds and other acoustic inhomogeneities, allowing identification of the reflection artifacts of the first step. These artifacts can then be removed from the PA image. Using PAFUSion, we demonstrate reduction of reflection artifacts and thereby improved interstitial PA visualization of brachytherapy seeds in phantom and ex vivo measurements on porcine tissue.
Kuniyil Ajith Singh, M., Parameshwarappa, V., Hendriksen, E., Steenbergen, W., & Manohar, S. (2016). Photoacoustic-guided focused ultrasound for accurate visualization of brachytherapy seeds with the photoacoustic needle. Journal of biomedical optics, 21(12), -. . https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.21.12.120501