During MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) treatments of uterine fibroids using ExAblate2000 (InSightec, Haifa, Israel), individual tissue ablations are performed extracorporeally through the patient's abdomen using an annular array FUS transducer embedded within the MR table. Ultrasound intensities in the near field are below therapeutic levels and, under normal conditions, heating of the patient skin is minimal. However, increased absorption of ultrasound energy within sensitive skin areas or areas with differing acoustic properties, such as scars, may lead to skin burns and therefore these areas must be kept outside the near field of the FUS beam. Depending on their location and size the sensitive areas may either obstruct parts of the fibroid from being treated or prevent the entire MRgFUS treatment altogether. The purpose of this work is to evaluate acoustic reflector materials that can be applied to protect skin and the underlying sensitive areas. Reflection coefficients of cork (0.88) and foam (0.91) based materials were evaluated with a hydrophone. An ExAblate 2000 MRgFUS system was used to simulate clinical treatment with discs of reflector materials placed in a near field underneath a gel phantom. MR thermometry was used to monitor temperature elevations as well as the integrity of the focal spot. The phantom measurements showed acoustic shadow zones behind the reflectors with zone depths changing between 7 and 27 mm, for reflector disc diameters increasing from 10 to 30 mm (40 mm diameter discs completely blocked the FUS beam at the depth evaluated). The effects on thermal lesions due to the presence of the reflectors in the FUS beam were found to diminish with decreasing disc diameter and increasing sonication depth. For a 20 mm diameter disc and beyond 50 mm sonication depth, thermal lesions were minimally affected by the presence of the disc. No heating was observed on the skin side of the foam reflectors, as confirmed by measurements performed with adhesive temperature labels. We present these data and discuss possible applications to clinical MRgFUS treatments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging