T1-weighted MRI as a substitute to CT for refocusing planning in MR-guided focused ultrasound

Phys Med Biol. 2014 Jul 7;59(13):3599-614. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/59/13/3599. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Precise focusing is essential for transcranial MRI-guided focused ultrasound (TcMRgFUS) to minimize collateral damage to non-diseased tissues and to achieve temperatures capable of inducing coagulative necrosis at acceptable power deposition levels. CT is usually used for this refocusing but requires a separate study (CT) ahead of the TcMRgFUS procedure. The goal of this study was to determine whether MRI using an appropriate sequence would be a viable alternative to CT for planning ultrasound refocusing in TcMRgFUS. We tested three MRI pulse sequences (3D T1 weighted 3D volume interpolated breath hold examination (VIBE), proton density weighted 3D sampling perfection with applications optimized contrasts using different flip angle evolution and 3D true fast imaging with steady state precision T2-weighted imaging) on patients who have already had a CT scan performed. We made detailed measurements of the calvarial structure based on the MRI data and compared those so-called 'virtual CT' to detailed measurements of the calvarial structure based on the CT data, used as a reference standard. We then loaded both standard and virtual CT in a TcMRgFUS device and compared the calculated phase correction values, as well as the temperature elevation in a phantom. A series of Bland-Altman measurement agreement analyses showed T1 3D VIBE as the optimal MRI sequence, with respect to minimizing the measurement discrepancy between the MRI derived total skull thickness measurement and the CT derived total skull thickness measurement (mean measurement discrepancy: 0.025; 95% CL (-0.22-0.27); p = 0.825). The T1-weighted sequence was also optimal in estimating skull CT density and skull layer thickness. The mean difference between the phase shifts calculated with the standard CT and the virtual CT reconstructed from the T1 dataset was 0.08 ± 1.2 rad on patients and 0.1 ± 0.9 rad on phantom. Compared to the real CT, the MR-based correction showed a 1 °C drop on the maximum temperature elevation in the phantom (7% relative drop). Without any correction, the maximum temperature was down 6 °C (43% relative drop). We have developed an approach that allows for a reconstruction of a virtual CT dataset from MRI to perform phase correction in TcMRgFUS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Skull / anatomy & histology
  • Skull / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*