Focused Ultrasound Treatment, Present and Future.

Author: Abe K1, Taira T1
1Department of Neurosurgery, Tokyo Women's Medical University.
Conference/Journal: Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo).
Date published: 2017 Aug 15
Other: Volume ID: 57 , Issue ID: 8 , Pages: 386-391 , Special Notes: doi: 10.2176/nmc.ra.2017-0024. Epub 2017 Jun 28. , Word Count: 278

The discovery that ultrasound waves could be focused inside the skull and heated to high temperatures at a focal point goes back to 1944. However, because the skull causes the ultrasound waves to attenuate and scatter, it was believed that application of this technology would be difficult, and that it would be impossible to use this approach in the surgical treatment of intracranial diseases. Eventually, magnetic resonance image guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) surgery began being used to treat uterine fibroids, breast cancer and bone metastasis and locally confined prostate cancer. In the first ten years of the 21st century, new developments in this technology have been achieved, broadening the scope of practical application, and treatment is now being performed in various countries around the world. In 2011, third-generation transcranial focused ultrasound made it possible to use thermocoagulation and create intracranial lesions measuring 2 to 6 mm in diameter with a precision of around 1 mm. It was also possible to produce MR images which relay information of temperature changes in real time, enabling a shift from reversible test heating to irreversible therapeutic heating. This gave rise to the possibility of a minimally-invasive treatment with outcomes similar to those of conventional brain surgery. This method is paving the way to a new future not only in functional neurosurgery, but in cranial neurosurgery targeting conditions such as epilepsy and brain tumors, among others. In this paper, we describe the current state and future outlook of magnetic resonance image guided focused ultrasound, which uses computed tomography (CT) bone images in combination with MRI monitoring of brain temperature.

KEYWORDS: blood brain barrier permeability; brain tumor; epilepsy; focused ultrasound; functional neurosurgery

PMID: 28659546 PMCID: PMC5566697 DOI: 10.2176/nmc.ra.2017-0024