Comparison of Conventional and Bayesian Analysis for the Ultrasonic Characterization of Cancellous Bone
Speed of sound measurements are widely used clinically to assess bone strength. Trabecular bone is an attenuating composite material in which negative values of velocity dispersion have been measured, this behavior remaining poorly explained physically. The aim of this work is to describe the ultrasonic propagation in trabecular bone modeled by infinite cylinders immersed in a saturating matrix, and to derive the physical determinants of velocity dispersion. A homogenization model accounting for the coupling of multiple scattering and absorption phenomena allows the computation of phase velocity and of dispersion while varying bone properties. The present model is adapted from the generalized self-consistent method developed in the work of Yang and Mal [(1994). "Multiple-scattering of elastic waves in a fiber-reinforced composite," J. Mech. Phys. Solids 42, 1945-1968]. It predicts negative values of velocity dispersion, in agreement with experimental results obtained in phantoms mimicking trabecular bone. In trabecular bone, mostly negative and also positive values of velocity dispersion are predicted by the model, which span within the range of values measured experimentally. Scattering effects are responsible for the negative values of dispersion, whereas the frequency dependence of the absorption coefficient in bone marrow and/or in the trabeculae results in an increase in dispersion, which may then become positive.