Scientific Reports (Aug 2022)

Comparison between MR and CT imaging used to correct for skull-induced phase aberrations during transcranial focused ultrasound

  • Steven A. Leung,
  • David Moore,
  • Yekaterina Gilbo,
  • John Snell,
  • Taylor D. Webb,
  • Craig H. Meyer,
  • G. Wilson Miller,
  • Pejman Ghanouni,
  • Kim Butts Pauly

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. 1 – 12


Read online

Abstract Transcranial focused ultrasound with the InSightec Exablate system uses thermal ablation for the treatment of movement and mood disorders and blood brain barrier disruption for tumor therapy. The system uses computed tomography (CT) images to calculate phase corrections that account for aberrations caused by the human skull. This work investigates whether magnetic resonance (MR) images can be used as an alternative to CT images to calculate phase corrections. Phase corrections were calculated using the gold standard hydrophone method and the standard of care InSightec ray tracing method. MR binary image mask, MR-simulated-CT (MRsimCT), and CT images of three ex vivo human skulls were supplied as inputs to the InSightec ray tracing method. The degassed ex vivo human skulls were sonicated with a 670 kHz hemispherical phased array transducer (InSightec Exablate 4000). 3D raster scans of the beam profiles were acquired using a hydrophone mounted on a 3-axis positioner system. Focal spots were evaluated using six metrics: pressure at the target, peak pressure, intensity at the target, peak intensity, positioning error, and focal spot volume. Targets at the geometric focus and 5 mm lateral to the geometric focus were investigated. There was no statistical difference between any of the metrics at either target using either MRsimCT or CT for phase aberration correction. As opposed to the MRsimCT, the use of CT images for aberration correction requires registration to the treatment day MR images; CT misregistration within a range of ± 2 degrees of rotation error along three dimensions was shown to reduce focal spot intensity by up to 9.4%. MRsimCT images used for phase aberration correction for the skull produce similar results as CT-based correction, while avoiding both CT to MR registration errors and unnecessary patient exposure to ionizing radiation.