, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 126-135
Date: 27 Mar 2013

Focused Ultrasound Surgery of the Brain

Abstract

Transcranial magnetic resonance imaging guided focused ultrasound surgery (tcMRIgFUS) has recently taken root as a novel, noninvasive alternative to traditional neurosurgery. The ability to treat a variety of neurological diseases by precisely focusing ultrasound energy to a desired target deep inside the brain while leaving collateral structures unaltered is certainly attractive. Ongoing preclinical and phase I clinical nonrandomized studies have demonstrated that ultrasound energy can be focused through the intact skull, without overheating it, that the treatment location can be visualized, and that induced temperature changes can be monitored in nearly real time. Varying the ultrasound parameters not only allows ablation of pathological tissue, such as brain tumors and metastases, or silencing of dysfunctional neuronal circuits, but also opens up the blood–brain barrier for targeted drug delivery and modulation of neural function. Here, key developments, the current status, and the potential of tcMRIgFUS for neurological applications are presented, and important issues for ongoing research are delineated.