Abstract

The chest-wall layer underneath breast tissue consists of muscles and bones, which induce distortion in near-infrared diffused waves measured at distant source–detector pairs when reflection geometry is used. A priori information on chest-wall depth obtained from coregistered real-time ultrasound can be used to assist in the removal of distant measurements. We applied Monte Carlo simulation to a simple two-layer model consisting of breast tissue and a chest wall to investigate chest-wall-induced distortion. The Monte Carlo method indicates that, when more than 50% of the received photons travel through the breast tissue layer before being detected, the detected signal may be useful for image reconstruction. The results of phantom experiments obtained from the two-layer model further validate the distortion problem and demonstrate imaging improvement after distant measurements have been filtered out. Clinical examples have shown similar imaging improvements on reconstructed absorption maps. Clinical data obtained from 20 patients with the chest-wall depths of less than 2 cm from the skin surface suggest that the cutoff distances of distorted measurements are largely related to the chest-wall depth and are relatively independent of the optical properties of tissue.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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