By Neil Glossop, FUS Foundation Consultant

Held in Munich, Germany from September 10 to 14, the 2011 meeting of the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) brought together researchers and clinicians in interventional applications from all over the world. The strength and commitment of this community was signified by the number of delegates in attendance – 6,164, a new record – and the number of abstracts submitted – 1,413.

A key event related to focused ultrasound was the Philips Healthcare users meeting and the official launch of the company’s new Sonalleve platform. The updated system fully integrates Ingenia, the new digital broadband MR system recently introduced by Phillips. The data acquisition and imaging capabilities of the Ingenia are so advanced that they can be compared to the transition from analog box televisions to the new generation of digital flat screen platforms.

In redesigning the Sonalleve, Philips also addressed customer feedback received during the system’s first two years of clinical experience.

What’s new about this MR system?

Rather than the image signal traveling from the receiver coil into a spectrometer (a.k.a. large computer) for processing in the room next door, the Ingenia platform digitizes the signal from the MR directly in the coil on the patient table, and sends the data to be reconstructed as an image via a fiber optic cable. For those who don’t speak MR-lingo, this is something similar to going from dial-up to broadband internet access in both speed and image content quality. In addition to that, the Ingenia comes with a 70 cm wide magnet bore for more patient comfort.

What’s new in the HIFU platform?

Now that the magnet comes with a wider bore and imaging data is being captured in the MR table, adjustments had to be made to the architecture of the focused ultrasound system to enable compatibility with the new MR system. While they could have simply made the architectural changes, Philips made many updates to the platform based on user feedback, which include improvements for the patient, physician and the technology.

Importantly, the new table is more comfortable for fibroid treatments and other applications, including adenomyosis and bone metastasis, which were both cleared for use under the CE mark on this new platform in addition to fibroids.

The physician user-interface has been improved for better treatment planning, improved workflow and optimization of cooling time for fibroid treatments to enhance user efficiency and ease. Lastly, the focused ultrasound technology has been advanced with the addition of a Philips-designed transducer that offers a longer focal length, increased treatment window and treatment depth, as well as scaling up the integrated receiver coil in the focused ultrasound platform, which will allow for improved resolution.

Written by Ellen C., McKenna

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