Acoustic Emissions During 3.1 MHz Ultrasound Bulk Ablation In Vitro

T. Douglas Mast, Vasant A. Salgaonkar, Chandrapriya Karunakaran, John A. Besse, Saurabh Datta, Christy K. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Acoustic emissions associated with cavitation and other bubble activity have previously been observed during ultrasound (US) ablation experiments. Because detectable bubble activity may be related to temperature, tissue state and sonication characteristics, these acoustic emissions are potentially useful for monitoring and control of US ablation. To investigate these relationships, US ablation experiments were performed with simultaneous measurements of acoustic emissions, tissue echogenicity and tissue temperature on fresh bovine liver. Ex vivo tissue was exposed to 0.9-3.3-s bursts of unfocused, continuous-wave, 3.10-MHz US from a miniaturized 32-element array, which performed B-scan imaging with the same piezoelectric elements during brief quiescent periods. Exposures used pressure amplitudes of 0.8-1.4 MPa for exposure times of 6-20 min, sufficient to achieve significant thermal coagulation in all cases. Acoustic emissions received by a 1-MHz, unfocused passive cavitation detector, beamformed A-line signals acquired by the array, and tissue temperature detected by a needle thermocouple were sampled 0.3-1.1 times per second. Tissue echogenicity was quantified by the backscattered echo energy from a fixed region-of-interest within the treated zone. Acoustic emission levels were quantified from the spectra of signals measured by the passive cavitation detector, including subharmonic signal components at 1.55 MHz, broadband signal components within the band 0.3-1.1 MHz and low-frequency components within the band 10-30 kHz. Tissue ablation rates, defined as the thermally ablated volumes per unit time, were assessed by quantitative analysis of digitally imaged, macroscopic tissue sections. Correlation analysis was performed among the averaged and time-dependent acoustic emissions in each band considered, B-mode tissue echogenicity, tissue temperature and ablation rate. Ablation rate correlated significantly with broadband and low-frequency emissions, but was uncorrelated with subharmonic emissions. Subharmonic emissions were found to depend strongly on temperature in a nonlinear manner, with significant emissions occurring within different temperature ranges for each sonication amplitude. These results suggest potential roles for passive detection of acoustic emissions in guidance and control of bulk US ablation treatments. (E-mail:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1434-1448
Number of pages15
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic emissions
  • Passive cavitation detection
  • Therapy
  • Ultrasound ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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