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Med Phys. 2002 Nov;29(11):2611-20.

An image-guided high intensity focused ultrasound device for uterine fibroids treatment.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA.


A high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) device was developed for treating uterine fibroid tumors. This prototype device enables image-guided therapy by aligning a commercially available abdominal ultrasound image probe to a vaginal HIFU transducer so the HIFU focus is in the image plane. The device was designed based on anatomical constraints of the female pelvic structures. HIFU was generated using a 3.5 MHz PZT-8 crystal, 25.4 mm in diameter, bonded to an aluminum lens. Computer simulations were performed to ensure that effective focusing was achievable at a fixed focal depth of 40 mm. Transducer efficiency was empirically determined to be 58%, and the half pressure maximum focal dimensions were 11 mm in length and 1.2 mm in width. A water-filled latex condom surrounding the transducer provided acoustic coupling, a stand-off, and allowed water circulation for transducer cooling. In vitro experiments in a tissue-mimicking gel phantom and in turkey breast demonstrated ultrasound image-guided lesion formation, or tissue necrosis, at the focus due to HIFU induced thermal and cavitation effects. The HIFU treatment site appeared as a hyperechoic spot on the ultrasound image at intensities above 1250 W/cm2. The results of in vitro experiments and in vivo ergonomic testing in six human volunteers indicated that the device has the potential of providing a nonsurgical approach for uterine fibroid treatment. Future in vivo studies in large animal models and fibroids patients are planned.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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