Toward minimally invasive therapeutic ultrasound: Ultrasound-guided ablation in neuro-oncology

Micah Belzberg, Smruti Mahapatra, Francisco Chavez, Kyle Morrison, Kah Timothy Xiong, Nao Gamo, Stephen Restaino, Rajiv Iyer, Mari Groves, Nitish Thakor, Nicholas Theodore, Mark G. Luciano, Henry Brem, Alan R. Cohen, Amir Manbachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: To improve patient outcomes (eg, reducing blood loss and infection), practitioners have gravitated toward noninvasive and minimally invasive surgeries (MIS), which demand specialized toolkits. Focused ultrasound, for example, facilitates thermal ablation from a distance, thereby reducing injury to surrounding tissue. Focused ultrasound can often be performed noninvasively; however, it is more difficult to carry out in neuro-oncological tumors, as ultrasound is dramatically attenuated while propagating through the skull. This shortcoming has prompted exploration of MIS options for intracranial placement of focused ultrasound probes, such as within the BrainPath™ (NICO Corporation, Indianapolis, IN). Herein, we present the design, development, and in vitro testing of an image-guided, focused ultrasound prototype designed for use in MIS procedures. This probe can ablate neuro-oncological lesions despite its small size. Materials & Methods: Preliminary prototypes were iteratively designed, built, and tested. The final prototype consisted of three 8-mm-diameter therapeutic elements guided by an imaging probe. Probe functionality was validated on a series of tissue-mimicking phantoms. Results: Lesions were created in tissue-mimicking phantoms with average dimensions of 2.5x1.2x6.5mm and 3.4x3.25x9.36mm after 10- and 30-second sonification, respectively. 30s sonification with 118W power at 50% duty cycle generated a peak temperature of 68°C. Each ablation was visualized in real time by the built-in imaging probe. Conclusion: We developed and validated an ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound probe for use in MIS procedures. The dimensional constraints of the prototype were designed to reflect those of BrainPath trocars, which are MIS tools used to create atraumatic access to deep-seated brain pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Apr 27 2020


  • Ablation
  • Acoustic Probes
  • Engineering Design
  • Focused Ultrasound
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Oncology
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Transducer Design
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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