Method and apparatus for automatic time and/or lateral gain compensation in B-mode ultrasound imaging

  • US 6,102,859 A
  • Filed: 12/01/1998
  • Issued: 08/15/2000
  • Est. Priority Date: 12/01/1998
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
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1. A system for imaging biological tissues, comprising:

  • an ultrasound transducer array comprising a multiplicity of transducer elements;

    a transmit beamformer for pulsing said transducer array to transmit ultrasound beams in first and second scans;

    a receive beamformer for forming receive beams of acoustic data derived from echo signals detected by the transducer array subsequent to said transmissions;

    a signal processing chain for converting said acoustic data into first and second image frames of pixel intensity data corresponding to said first and second scans respectively, said signal processing chain comprising a gain compensation component for adjusting the gain of the acoustic data as a function of gain adjustments;

    a computer programmed to determine said gain adjustments as a function of said first image frame of pixel intensity data and the current settings of all pertinent gain-related system parameters in accordance with a noise model, and transmit said gain adjustments to said gain compensation component in time to adjust the gain of the acoustic data acquired from said second scan;

    a video processor for converting said image frame of pixel intensity data into an image frame of gray-scale level data; and

    a display device for displaying an image representing said image frame of gray-scale level data, wherein said computer is programmed to perform the following steps;

    (a) dividing said first image frame of pixel intensity data into a regular grid of kernels forming a plurality of rows;

    (b) retrieving the current settings of all pertinent gain-related parameters for each kernel;

    (c) predicting the mean noise level in each kernel using said noise model;

    (d) calculating the mean pixel intensity for each kernel;

    (e) comparing the predicted mean noise level with the calculated mean pixel intensity for each kernel;

    (f) for each row satisfying a predetermined condition, determining a mean pixel intensity of all kernels having signal to form a row mean;

    (g) based on an optimal mean gray-scale level, determining the gain adjustment for each row which will shift the gray-scale level corresponding to the respective row mean to said optimal gray-scale level; and

    (h) sending said gain adjustments to said gain compensation component.

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