Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders by using ultrasonic energy to target tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation.
Focused ultrasound is the marriage of two innovative technologies:
- focused ultrasound—which provides the energy to treat tissue deep in the body precisely and noninvasively, and
- magnetic resonance or ultrasound imaging—which is used to identify and target the tissue to be treated, guide and control the treatment in real time, and confirm the effectiveness of the treatment.
The fundamental principle is analogous to using a magnifying glass to focus beams of sunlight on a single point to burn a hole in a leaf. With focused ultrasound, an acoustic lens is used to concentrate multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound on a target deep in the body with extreme precision and accuracy. Depending on the design of the lens and the ultrasound parameters, the target can be as small as 1×1.5mm or as large as 10x16mm in diameter.
Where each of the individual beams passes through the tissue, there is no effect. But, at the focal point, the convergence of the multiple beams of focused ultrasound energy results in many important biological effects, creating the possibility of treating a variety of medical disorders. Read more about the mechanisms of actions.
Focused ultrasound treatments can be performed on an outpatient basis, require no incisions, and can result in minimal discomfort and few complications, allowing for rapid recovery.