Value of diffusion-weighted imaging for monitoring tissue change during magnetic resonance-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy in bone applications: an ex-vivo study

Eur Radiol Exp. 2018;2(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s41747-018-0041-x. Epub 2018 May 10.


Background: Magnetic resonance (MR)-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can palliate metastatic bone pain by periosteal neurolysis. We investigated the value of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) for monitoring soft tissue changes adjacent to bone during MR-guided HIFU. We evaluated the repeatability of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measurement, the temporal evolution of ADC change after sonication, and its relationship with thermal parameters.

Methods: Ex-vivo experiments in lamb legs (n = 8) were performed on a Sonalleve MR-guided HIFU system. Baseline proton resonance frequency shift (PRFS) thermometry evaluated the accuracy of temperature measurements and tissue cooling times after exposure. PRFS acquired during sonication (n = 27) was used to estimate thermal dose volume and temperature. After repeat baseline measurements, DWI was assessed longitudinally and relative ADC changes were derived for heated regions.

Results: Baseline PRFS was accurate to 1 °C and showed that tissues regained baseline temperatures within 5 min. Before sonication, coefficient of variation for repeat ADC measurements was 0.8%. After sonication, ADC increased in the muscle adjacent to the exposed periosteum, it was maximal 1-5 min after sonication, and it significantly differed between samples with persistent versus non-persistent ADC changes beyond 20 min. ADC increases at 20 min were stable for 2 h and correlated significantly with thermal parameters (ADC versus applied acoustic energy at 16-20 min: r = 0.77, p < 0.001). A 20% ADC increase resulted in clear macroscopic tissue damage.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest that DWI can detect intra-procedural changes in ex-vivo muscle overlying the periosteum. This could be useful for studying the safety and efficacy of clinical MR-guided HIFU bone treatments.

Keywords: Bone metastases; Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI); Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Periosteum; Thermal ablation.