HIFU-induced cavitation and heating in ex vivo porcine subcutaneous fat

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2011 Apr;37(4):568-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.01.001. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


The present study is motivated by the fact that there are no published studies quantifying cavitation activity and heating induced by ultrasound in adipose tissue and that there are currently no reliable techniques for monitoring successful deposition of ultrasound energy in fat in real time. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) exposures were performed in excised porcine fat at four different frequencies (0.5, 1.1, 1.6 and 3.4 MHz) over a range of pressure amplitudes and exposure durations. The transmission losses arising from reflection at the skin interface and attenuation through skin and fat were quantified at all frequencies using an embedded needle hydrophone. A 15 MHz passive cavitation detector (PCD) coaxial to the HIFU transducer was used to capture acoustic emissions emanating from the focus during HIFU exposures, while the focal temperature rise was measured using minimally invasive needle thermocouples. Repeatable temperature rises in excess of 10°C could be readily instigated across all four frequencies for acoustic intensities (Ispta) in excess of 50 W/cm(2) within the first 2 s of exposure. Even though cavitation could not be initiated at 1.1, 1.6 and 3.4 MHz over the in situ peak rarefactional (p(-)) pressure range 0-3 MPa explored in the present study, inertial cavitation activity was always initiated at 0.5 MHz for pressures greater than 1.6 MPa (p(-)) and was found to enhance focal heat deposition. A good correlation was identified between the energy of broadband emissions detected by the PCD and the focal temperature rise at 0.5 MHz, particularly for short 2 s exposures, which could be exploited as a tool for noninvasive monitoring of successful treatment delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Body Temperature / radiation effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation / methods*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Subcutaneous Fat / physiopathology*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / radiation effects
  • Subcutaneous Fat / surgery*
  • Swine