A deconvolution method for deriving the transit time spectrum for ultrasound propagation through cancellous bone replica models

Christian McDonald Langton, Marie-Luise Wille, Mark Bruce Flegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The acceptance of broadband ultrasound attenuation for the assessment of osteoporosis suffers from a limited understanding of ultrasound wave propagation through cancellous bone. It has recently been proposed that the ultrasound wave propagation can be described by a concept of parallel sonic rays. This concept approximates the detected transmission signal to be the superposition of all sonic rays that travel directly from transmitting to receiving transducer. The transit time of each ray is defined by the proportion of bone and marrow propagated. An ultrasound transit time spectrum describes the proportion of sonic rays having a particular transit time, effectively describing lateral inhomogeneity of transit times over the surface of the receiving ultrasound transducer. The aim of this study was to provide a proof of concept that a transit time spectrum may be derived from digital deconvolution of input and output ultrasound signals. We have applied the active-set method deconvolution algorithm to determine the ultrasound transit time spectra in the three orthogonal directions of four cancellous bone replica samples and have compared experimental data with the prediction from the computer simulation. The agreement between experimental and predicted ultrasound transit time spectrum analyses derived from Bland-Altman analysis ranged from 92% to 99%, thereby supporting the concept of parallel sonic rays for ultrasound propagation in cancellous bone. In addition to further validation of the parallel sonic ray concept, this technique offers the opportunity to consider quantitative characterisation of the material and structural properties of cancellous bone, not previously available utilising ultrasound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancellous bone
  • Deconvolution
  • Phase interference
  • Transit time spectroscopy
  • Ultrasound

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