Magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery provides a minimally invasive controlled method for selectively destroying deep-lying tissue. A thermal analysis of focused ultrasound provides an estimate of the time-dependent temperature distribution and thermal dose required for ultrasound surgery. The temperature distribution is estimated by accumulating heat sources, considering the effects of thermal conductivity, heat content, and perfusion. In this study, both gel phantoms and excised in vitro bovine muscle specimens were imaged in a 1.5 T MR system while heated with a 5 cm diameter, 10 cm focal length, 1.1 MHz transducer. During sonication, the thermal effects were observed with T1-weighted pulse sequences. Below a critical temperature, the heat zone appeared as a dark spot that moved with the focal spot. Above a critical thermal dose, the in vitro tissue was irreversibly altered and the focal lesion was observed on both the MR image and the specimen slice.