With the expanding applications of magnetic resonance-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MR-HIFU), there is an urgent need for a convenient, reliable, and fast acoustic pressure field measurement method to aid treatment protocol design, ensure consistent and safe operation of the transducer, and facilitate regulatory approval of new techniques. Herein, we report a method for acoustic pressure field characterization of MR-HIFU systems with multi-element phased array transducers. This method integrates fiber-optic hydrophone measurements and electronic steering of the ultrasound beam with MRI-assisted HIFU focus alignment to the fiber tip.
A clinical MR-HIFU system (Sonalleve V2, Profound Medical Inc., Mississauga, Canada) was used to assess the proposed method. A fiber-optic hydrophone was submerged in a degassed water bath, and the fiber tip location was traced using MRI. Subsequently, the nominal transducer focal point indicated on the MR-HIFU therapy planning software was positioned at the fiber tip, and the HIFU focus was electronically steered around the fiber tip within a 3D volume for 3D pressure field mapping, eliminating the need for an additional, expensive, and MRI-compatible 3D positioning stage. The peak positive and negative pressures were measured at the focus and validated using a standard hydrophone measurement setup outside the MRI magnet room.
We found that the initial MRI-assisted HIFU focus alignment had an average offset of 2.23 ± 1.33 mm from the fiber tip as identified by the 3D pressure field mapping. MRI guidance and electronic beam steering allowed 3D focus localization within ~ 1 h, i.e., faster than the typical time required using the standard laboratory setup (~ 3-4 h). Acoustic pressures measured using the proposed method were not significantly different from those obtained with the standard laboratory hydrophone measurements.
In conclusion, our method offers a convenient, reliable, and fast acoustic pressure field characterization tool for MR-HIFU systems with phased array transducers.