MR-guided focused ultrasound: a potentially disruptive technology

J Am Coll Radiol. 2009 Jul;6(7):510-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2009.01.004.


A disruptive technology is a technological innovation that overturns the existing dominant technologies in a market. Magnetic resonance (MR)-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a noninvasive procedure based on the combination of real-time MR anatomic guidance, MR thermometry, and high-intensity focused ultrasound. Several hundred transducer elements become convergent at a point under MR guidance, leading to heating and coagulation necrosis. Outside the focal point, there is no significant heating. There is no need to break the skin for procedures in the body or to perform a craniotomy for procedures in the brain. This lack of invasiveness is what makes MRgFUS so disruptive compared with surgery. At present, MRgFUS has been used for the ablation of uterine fibroids, breast tumors, painful bony metastases, and liver tumors. In the brain, it has been used for the ablation of glioblastomas and for functional neurosurgery. Phantom and animal studies suggest future applications for prostate cancer and acute stroke treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / trends*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / trends*
  • United States