Robotically Assisted Sonic Therapy as a Noninvasive Nonthermal Ablation Modality: Proof of Concept in a Porcine Liver Model

Radiology. 2018 May;287(2):485-493. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018171544. Epub 2018 Jan 30.


Purpose To determine the feasibility of creating a clinically relevant hepatic ablation (ie, an ablation zone capable of treating a 2-cm liver tumor) by using robotically assisted sonic therapy (RAST), a noninvasive and nonthermal focused ultrasound therapy based on histotripsy. Materials and Methods This study was approved by the institutional animal use and care committee. Ten female pigs were treated with RAST in a single session with a prescribed 3-cm spherical treatment region and immediately underwent abdominal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Three pigs (acute group) were sacrificed immediately following MR imaging. Seven pigs (chronic group) were survived for approximately 4 weeks and were reimaged with MR imaging immediately before sacrifice. Animals underwent necropsy and harvesting of the liver for histologic evaluation of the ablation zone. RAST ablations were performed with a 700-kHz therapy transducer. Student t tests were performed to compare prescribed versus achieved ablation diameter, difference of sphericity from 1, and change in ablation zone volume from acute to chronic imaging. Results Ablation zones had a sphericity index of 0.99 ± 0.01 (standard deviation) (P < .001 vs sphericity index of 1). Anteroposterior and transverse dimensions were not significantly different from prescribed (3.4 ± 0.7; P = .08 and 3.2 ± 0.8; P = .29, respectively). The craniocaudal dimension was significantly larger than prescribed (3.8 ± 1.1; P = .04), likely because of respiratory motion. The central ablation zone demonstrated complete cell destruction and a zone of partial necrosis. A fibrous capsule surrounded the ablation zone by 4 weeks. On 4-week follow-up images, ablation zone volumes decreased by 64% (P < .001). Conclusion RAST is capable of producing clinically relevant ablation zones in a noninvasive manner in a porcine model. © RSNA, 2018.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation*
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Swine