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Phys Med Biol. 2011 Sep 7;56(17):5553-81. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/17/007. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Modelling of the acoustic field of a multi-element HIFU array scattered by human ribs.

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National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington TW110LW, UK.


The efficacy of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for the treatment of a range of different cancers, including those of the liver, prostate and breast, has been demonstrated. As a non-invasive focused therapy, HIFU offers considerable advantages over techniques such as chemotherapy and surgical resection in terms of reduced risk of harmful side effects. Despite this, there are a number of significant challenges which currently hinder its widespread clinical application. One of these challenges is the need to transmit sufficient energy through the rib cage to induce tissue necrosis in the required volume whilst minimizing the formation of side lobes. Multi-element random-phased arrays are currently showing great promise in overcoming the limitations of single-element transducers. Nevertheless, successful treatment of a patient with liver tumours requires a thorough understanding of the way in which the ultrasonic pressure field from a HIFU array is scattered by the rib cage. In order to address this, a boundary element approach based on a generalized minimal residual (GMRES) implementation of the Burton-Miller formulation was used in conjunction with phase conjugation techniques to focus the field of a 256-element random HIFU array behind human ribs at locations requiring intercostal and transcostal treatment. Simulations were carried out on a 3D mesh of quadratic pressure patches generated using CT scan anatomical data for adult ribs 9-12 on the right side. The methodology was validated on spherical and cylindrical scatterers. Field calculations were also carried out for idealized ribs, consisting of arrays of strip-like scatterers, demonstrating effects of splitting at the focus. This method has the advantage of fully accounting for the effect of scattering and diffraction in 3D under continuous wave excitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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