Clinical photoacoustic imaging for detection and characterization of metal implants
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Accurate insertion and monitoring of metal implants in-vivo is essential for clinical diagnosis and therapy of various diseases. Clinical studies and examples have demonstrated that the misplacement errors of these metal devices can have dramatic consequences. This thesis focuses on three main metal devices that are in widespread use today: needles, coronary stents and brachytherapy seeds. Each application requires proper image-guidance for correct usage. For needles, image guidance is required to ensure correct local injection delivery or needle aspiration biopsy. Fine needle aspiration biopsies are performed in order to avoid major surgical excisions when obtaining tissue biopsy procedures. However, because of the small biopsy sample, the risk is that the sample is collected outside of the tumorigenic region, resulting in a false negative result. Implantation of stents requires that confirmation that proper stent apposition has been achieved due to balloon inflation. Furthermore, it is important to guide the stent to shield the vulnerable region of an atherosclerotic plaque. With prostate brachytherapy seeds, the ability to monitor seed placement is crucial because needle deflections or tissue deformation can result in seed misplacement errors, decreasing the efficacy of the pre-established treatment plan. For the described applications and other possible clinical practices involving the use of metallic implants, an imaging technology that can accurately depict the location of the metal objects, relative to their respective backgrounds, in real-time, is necessary to improve the safety and the efficacy of these procedures. Currently, ultrasound is used because of its real-time capabilities, non-ionizing radiation, and soft tissue contrast. However, due to high acoustic scattering from tissue, the contrast of metal implants can be low. Photoacoustic imaging can be used as an alternative, or complementary, imaging method to ultrasound for imaging metal. This thesis focuses on the benefits and the pitfalls of using photoacoustic imaging for detecting three different metal implants, each having unique requirements. Overall, the goal of this work is to develop a framework for clinical applications using combined ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging to help guide, detect and follow-up on clinical metal implants introduced in-vivo.