Skip to Main Content
Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (TcMRgFUS) provides a potential noninvasive alternative to surgical resection and for other treatments for brain disorders. Use of low-frequency ultrasound provides several advantages for TcMRgFUS, but is potentially limited by reflection and standing wave effects that may cause secondary hotspots within the skull cavity. The purpose of this work was to use volumetric magnetic resonance temperature imaging (MRTI) and ex vivo human skulls filled with tissue-mimicking phantom material to search for heating distant from the focal point that may occur during sonication with a TcMRgFUS system as a result of reflections or standing wave effects. Heating during 120-s sonications was monitored within the entire skull volume for 12 different locations in two different skulls. The setup used a hemispheric array operating at 220 kHz. Multiple sonications were delivered at each location while varying the MRTI slice positions to provide full coverage of the skull cavity. An automated routine was used evaluate the MRTI to detect voxel regions that appeared to be heated by ultrasound. No secondary hotspots with a temperature rise of 15% or more of the focal heating were found. The MRTI noise level prevented the identification of possible hotspots with a lower temperature rise. These results suggest that significant secondary heating by this TcMRgFUS system at points distant from the focal point are not common.