Purpose: The current practice of prostate brachytherapy utilizes the brightness (B) mode ultrasound imaging for volume definition and needle guidance. However, tissue harmonic (H) mode available with new scanners has shown the improved image quality. The aim of this study was to perform a pre-clinical phantom evaluation of harmonic imaging as an alternative to B mode in prostate brachytherapy. Methods: Performance characteristics viz. dead zone, depth of penetration, geometric accuracy, spatial resolution, tissue to clutter ratio (TCR) and signal to noise ratio (SNR), were compared between two modes using an in-house phantom. Images were acquired under the same settings except the gain; which is higher for the H mode than that of B mode. A qualitative comparison between two modes was also performed using commercial CIRS053 phantom. Results: Dead zone, depth of penetration and geometric accuracy were respectively <1 mm, >8 cm and <1% for both modes. Relative TCR, SNR and the spatial resolution were improved in H mode compared with B mode. Images with CIRS053 phantom in H mode demonstrate sharper boundaries for prostate and urethra, freedom from background clutter, and better identification of the brachytherapy needles. Conclusions: This study indicates the superiority of H over B mode, in terms of spatial resolution, relative contrast, and overall image quality. Thus H mode has the potential benefit in prostate brachytherapy. This study provides the basis to move forward to investigate whether the superior image quality observed in the laboratory can be translated into a higher treatment quality for the patient.
- Brightness mode imaging
- Prostate brachytherapy
- Tissue harmonic imaging
- Transrectal ultrasound imaging