由 Lynn Shapiro
, Writer | August 12, 2009
Millimeter Precision and Accuracy
Neal Kassell, M.D., a neurosurgeon at the University of Virginia, and chairman and founder of the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation, tells DOTmed that MR guided focused ultrasound is a way of treating diseases with "millimeter accuracy and precision."
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He says that choosing the target area for surgery is done with an MR scan. While treatment is occurring, surgeons do a scan every one or two seconds, so they can see in real time precisely where to operate.
Avoids Ionizing Radiation
There are some similarities to radiosurgery--both procedures focus energy from a source outside the head onto a specific target site within the brain. However, focused ultrasound avoids some of the complications associated with ionizing radiation and in theory there are no exposure limitations. In addition, the medical team can see the results of the intervention immediately. Radiation effects are not visible during the procedure, and so cannot achieve the precision and accuracy which is possible with focused ultrasound, Taylor explains.
Clinical Trials En Mass
While MR-guided ultrasound is approved in the U.S. for uterine fibroids, clinical trials are currently underway for brain disorders, breast tumors and pain from bone metastasis, Dr. Kassell says.
He says he also expects to see clinical trials in the U.S. and abroad conducted for Parkinson's Disease, brain tumors and prostate cancer this year.
Dr. Kassell concludes that the focused ultrasound procedure, which does not require general anesthesia, may replace other forms of minimally invasive surgery and most radiation therapy because it has a lower complication rate than surgery and does not use ionizing radiation.
For instance, he says some prostate cancer patients who have surgery suffer from erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Focused ultrasound may reduce or possibly eliminate these complications.
Source: Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation.
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