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J Magn Reson Imaging. 1998 Jan-Feb;8(1):136-42.

Brain edema development after MRI-guided focused ultrasound treatment.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Department of Radiology, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The aim of this study was to investigate a potential technique for image-guided minimally invasive neurosurgical interventions. Focused ultrasound (FUS) delivers thermal energy without an invasive probe, penetrating the dura mater, entering through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space, or harming intervening brain tissue. We applied continuous on-line monitoring by MRI to demonstrate the effect of the thermal intervention on the brain tissue. For this, seven rabbits had a part of their skull removed to create access for the FUS beam into the brain through an acoustic window of 11 mm in diameter. Dura was left intact and skin was sutured. One week later, the rabbits were sonicated for 3 seconds with 21 W acoustic power, and the FUS focus was visualized with a temperature-sensitive T1-weighted MRI pulse sequence. The tissue reaction was documented over 7 days with T2-weighted images of the brain. The initial area of the central low signal intensity in the axial plane was .4+/-.3 mm2, and for the bright hyperintensity surrounding the lesion, it was 2.3+/-.6 mm2 (n = 7). In the coronal plane, the corresponding values were .4+/-.1 mm2 and 3.4+/-.9 mm2 (n = 5). The developing brain edema culminated 48 hours later and thereafter diminished during the next 5 days. Histology revealed a central necrosis in the white matter surrounded by edematous tissue with inflammatory cells. In summary, the image-guided thermal ablation technique described here produced a relatively small lesion in the white matter at the targeted location. This was accomplished without opening the dura or the need for a stereotactical device. MRI allowed on-line monitoring of the lesion setting and the deposition of thermal energy and demonstrated the tissue damage after the thermal injury.

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