Transcranial Magnetic Resonance-Guided Histotripsy for Brain Surgery: Pre-clinical Investigation

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2022 Jan;48(1):98-110. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2021.09.008. Epub 2021 Oct 4.


Histotripsy has been previously applied to target various cranial locations in vitro through an excised human skull. Recently, a transcranial magnetic resonance (MR)-guided histotripsy (tcMRgHt) system was developed, enabling pre-clinical investigations of tcMRgHt for brain surgery. To determine the feasibility of in vivo transcranial histotripsy, tcMRgHt treatment was delivered to eight pigs using a 700-kHz, 128-element, MR-compatible phased-array transducer inside a 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. After craniotomy to open an acoustic window to the brain, histotripsy was applied through an excised human calvarium to target the inside of the pig brain based on pre-treatment MRI and fiducial markers. MR images were acquired pre-treatment, immediately post-treatment and 2-4 h post-treatment to evaluate the acute treatment outcome. Successful histotripsy ablation was observed in all pigs. The MR-evident lesions were well confined within the targeted volume, without evidence of excessive brain edema or hemorrhage outside of the target zone. Histology revealed tissue homogenization in the ablation zones with a sharp demarcation between destroyed and unaffected tissue, which correlated well with the radiographic treatment zones on MRI. These results are the first to support the in vivo feasibility of tcMRgHt in the pig brain, enabling further investigation of the use of tcMRgHt for brain surgery.

Keywords: Brain; Histotripsy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Therapeutic ultrasound; Transcranial treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / surgery
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Skull
  • Swine
  • Transducers