Displacement estimation is a key step in the evaluation of tissue elasticity by quasistatic strain imaging. An efficient approach may incorporate a tracking strategy whereby each estimate is initially obtained from its neighbours' displacements and then refined through a localized search. This increases the accuracy and reduces the computational expense compared with exhaustive search. However, simple tracking strategies fail when the target displacement map exhibits complex structure. For example, there may be discontinuities and regions of indeterminate displacement caused by decorrelation between the pre- and post-deformation radio frequency (RF) echo signals. This paper introduces a novel displacement tracking algorithm, with a search strategy guided by a data quality indicator. Comparisons with existing methods show that the proposed algorithm is more robust when the displacement distribution is challenging. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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