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Phys Med Biol. 2010 Nov 7;55(21):6395-410. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/55/21/004. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

An optimum method for pulsed high intensity focused ultrasound treatment of large volumes using the InSightec ExAblate® 2000 system.

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  • 1The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, 6565 Fannin, Houston TX 77030, USA.


Pulsed high intensity focused ultrasound (pHIFU) is a method for delivering ultrasound to tissue while avoiding high temperatures. The technique has been suggested for non-destructively enhancing local uptake of drugs. Side effects include thermal necrosis; therefore, real-time monitoring of tissue temperature is advantageous. This paper outlines a method for improving the treatment efficiency of pHIFU using the MR image-guided InSightec ExAblate® 2000 system, an ultrasound system integrated into a whole body human MRI scanner with the ability to measure temperature at the treatment location in near real time. Thermal measurements obtained during treatment of a tissue phantom were used to determine appropriate heating parameters, and compared to in vivo treatment of rabbit muscle. Optimization of the treatment procedure and ultrasound transducer steering patterns was then conducted with the goal of minimizing treatment time while avoiding overheating. The optimization was performed on the basis of approximate solutions to the standard bioheat equation. The commercial system software of the Exablate® system was modified to assist in this optimization. Depending on the size of the treatment volume, the presented results demonstrate that it is possible to use the technique described to cut treatment times significantly, up to one-third of that required by the current standard treatment cycle.

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