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Phys Med Biol. 2016 Nov 21;61(22):8025-8043. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

A numerical study on the oblique focus in MR-guided transcranial focused ultrasound.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Physical Sciences Platform, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Canada.


Recent clinical data showing thermal lesions from treatments of essential tremor using MR-guided transcranial focused ultrasound shows that in many cases the focus is oblique to the main axis of the phased array. The potential for this obliquity to extend the focus into lateral regions of the brain has led to speculation as to the cause of the oblique focus, and whether it is possible to realign the focus. Numerical simulations were performed on clinical export data to analyze the causes of the oblique focus and determine methods for its correction. It was found that the focal obliquity could be replicated with the numerical simulations to within [Formula: see text] of the clinical cases. It was then found that a major cause of the focal obliquity was the presence of sidelobes, caused by an unequal deposition of power from the different transducer elements in the array at the focus. In addition, it was found that a 65% reduction in focal obliquity was possible using phase and amplitude corrections. Potential drawbacks include the higher levels of skull heating required when modifying the distribution of power among the transducer elements, and the difficulty at present in obtaining ideal phase corrections from CT information alone. These techniques for the reduction of focal obliquity can be applied to other applications of transcranial focused ultrasound involving lower total energy deposition, such as blood-brain barrier opening, where the issue of skull heating is minimal.

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