Reflection artifacts caused by acoustic reflectors is an important problem in reflection-mode photoacoustic imaging. The light absorbed by skin and superficial optical absorbers may produce high photoacoustic signals, which traverse into the tissue and get reflected from structures having different acoustic impedance. These reflected photoacoustic signals, when reconstructed may appear in the region of interest, which causes complications in interpreting the images. We propose a novel method to identify and reduce reflection artifacts in photoacoustic images by making use of PhotoAcoustic-guided Focused UltraSound [PAFUSion]. Our method ultrasonically mimics the photoacoustic image formation process and thus delivers a clinically feasible way to reduce reflection artifacts. Simulation and phantom measurement results are presented to demonstrate the validity and impact of this method. Results show that PAFUSion technique can identify and differentiate reflection signals from the signals of interest and thus foresees good potential for improving photoacoustic imaging of deep tissue.

© 2015 SPIE

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