Elasticity imaging methods have been used to study tissue mechanical properties and have demonstrated that tissue elasticity changes with disease state. Quantitative mechanical properties can be measured in a model independent manner if both shear wave speed and attenuation are known. However, measuring shear wave speed attenuation is challenging in the field of elasticity imaging. Typically, only shear wave speed is measured and rheological models, such as Kelvin-Voigt, Maxwell and Standard Linear Solid, are used to solve for shear viscoelastic complex modulus. Acoustic radiation force has been used to study quasi-static viscoelastic properties of tissue during creep and relaxation conditions, however, as with shear wave propagation methods, a rheological model needs to be fit to the creep or relaxation experimental data to solve for viscoelastic parameters. This paper presents a method to quantify viscoelastic properties in a model-independent way by estimating complex shear elastic modulus over a wide frequency range using time-dependent creep response induced by acoustic radiation force. The acoustic radiation force induced creep (RFIC) method uses a conversion formula that is the analytic solution of the constitutive equation relating time dependent stress and time dependent strain. The RFIC method in combination with shear wave propagation is used to measure the complex shear modulus so that knowledge of the applied radiation force magnitude is not necessary. Numerical simulation of creep strain and compliance using the Kelvin-Voigt model shown that the conversion formula is sensitive to sampling frequency, the first reliable measure in time and the long term viscosity approximation. Experimental data are obtained in homogeneous tissue mimicking phantoms and excised swine kidneys.

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