Modeling and Analysis of Ultrasound Elastographic Axial Strains for Spine Fracture Identification

Peer Shajudeen, Songyuan Tang, Anuj Chaudhry, Namhee Kim, J. N. Reddy, Ennio Tasciotti, Raffaella Righetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study reports the first use of ultrasound (US) elastography for imaging spinal fractures by assessing the mechanical response of the soft tissue at the posterior vertebra boundary to a uniaxial compression in rabbit ex vivo samples. Three-dimensional finite-element (FE) models of the vertebra-soft tissue complex in rabbit samples are generated and analyzed to evaluate the distribution of the axial normal and shear strains at the vertebra-soft tissue interface. Experiments on the same samples are performed to corroborate simulation findings. Results of this study indicate that the distribution of the axial strains manifests as distinct patterns around intact and fractured vertebrae. Numerical characteristics of the axial strain's spatial distribution are further used to construct two shape descriptors to make inferences on spinal abnormalities: 1) axial normal strain asymmetry for assessing the presence of fractures and 2) principal orientation of axial shear strain concentration regions (shear zones) for measurement of spinous process dislocation. This study demonstrates that axial normal strain and axial shear strain maps obtained via US elastography can provide a new means to detect spine fractures and abnormalities in the selected ex vivo animal models. Spinal fracture detection is important for the assessment of spinal cord injuries and stability. However, identification of spinal fractures using US is currently challenging. Our results show that features resulting from strain elastograms can serve as a useful adjunct to B-mode images in identifying spine fractures in the selected animal samples, and this information could be helpful in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8918048
Pages (from-to)898-909
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Fracture detection
  • morphological descriptor
  • spine
  • strain
  • ultrasound (US) elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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