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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2017 Jul;64(7):1455-1468. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2016.2619741. Epub 2017 May 23.

Fast Numerical Simulation of Focused Ultrasound Treatments During Respiratory Motion With Discontinuous Motion Boundaries.

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Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS, Bremen, Germany.
Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS.



Focused ultrasound (FUS) is rapidly gaining clinical acceptance for several target tissues in the human body. Yet, treating liver targets is not clinically applied due to a high complexity of the procedure (noninvasiveness, target motion, complex anatomy, blood cooling effects, shielding by ribs, and limited image-based monitoring). To reduce the complexity, numerical FUS simulations can be utilized for both treatment planning and execution. These use-cases demand highly accurate and computationally efficient simulations.


We propose a numerical method for the simulation of abdominal FUS treatments during respiratory motion of the organs and target. Especially, a novel approach is proposed to simulate the heating during motion by solving Pennes' bioheat equation in a computational reference space, i.e., the equation is mathematically transformed to the reference. The approach allows for motion discontinuities, e.g., the sliding of the liver along the abdominal wall.


Implementing the solver completely on the graphics processing unit and combining it with an atlas-based ultrasound simulation approach yields a simulation performance faster than real time (less than 50-s computing time for 100 s of treatment time) on a modern off-the-shelf laptop. The simulation method is incorporated into a treatment planning demonstration application that allows to simulate real patient cases including respiratory motion.


The high performance of the presented simulation method opens the door to clinical applications.


The methods bear the potential to enable the application of FUS for moving organs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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