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Med Phys. 2004 Feb;31(2):405-13.

Transurethral ultrasound applicators with directional heating patterns for prostate thermal therapy: in vivo evaluation using magnetic resonance thermometry.

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Thermal Therapy Research Group, Radiation Oncology Department, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-1708, USA.


A catheter-based transurethral ultrasound applicator with angularly directional heating patterns has been designed for prostate thermal therapy and evaluated in canine prostate in vivo using MRI to monitor and assess performance. The ultrasound transducer array (3.5 mm diameter tubular transducers, 180 degrees active sectors, approximately 7.5 MHz) was integrated to a flexible delivery catheter (4 mm OD), and encapsulated within an expandable balloon (35 mm x 10 mm OD, 80 ml min(-1) ambient water) for coupling and cooling of the prostatic urethra. These devices were used to thermally coagulate targeted portions of the canine prostate (n = 2) while using MR thermal imaging (MRTI) to monitor the therapy. MRI was also used for target definition, positioning of the applicator, and evaluation of target viability post-therapy. MRTI was based upon the complex phase-difference mapping technique using an interleaved gradient echo-planar imaging sequence with lipid suppression. MRTI derived temperature distributions, thermal dose exposures, T1-contrast enhanced MR images, and histology of sectioned prostates were used to define destroyed tissue zones and characterize the three-dimensional heating patterns. The ultrasound applicators produced approximately 180 degrees directed zones of thermal coagulation within targeted tissue which extended 15-20 mm radially to the outer boundary of the prostate within 15 min. Transducer activation lengths of 17 mm and 24 mm produced contiguous zones of coagulation extending axially approximately 18 mm and approximately 25 mm from base to apex, respectively. Peak temperatures around 90 degrees C were measured, with approximately 50 degrees C-52 degrees C corresponding to outer boundary t43 = 240 min at approximately 15 min treatment time. These devices are MRI compatible, and when coupled with multiplanar MRTI provide a means for selectively controlling the length and sector angle of therapeutic thermal treatment in the prostate.

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