News in medicine : Tactile imaging
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Tactile imaging is a medical imaging modality that translates the sense of touch into a digital image. The tactile image is a function of P(x,y,z), where P is the pressure on soft tissue surface under applied deformation and x,y,z are coordinates where pressure P was measured.
Tactile imaging closely mimics manual palpation, since the probe of the device with a pressure sensor array mounted on its face acts similar to human fingers during clinical examination, slightly deforming soft tissue by the probe and detecting resulting changes in the pressure pattern. Figure on the right presents an experiment on a composite tissue phantom examined by a tactile imaging probe illustrating the ability of tactile imaging to visualize in 3D the structure of the object.
This modality is used for imaging of the prostate, breast, vagina and pelvic floor support structures, and myofascial trigger points in muscle.