Design and characterization of a laterally mounted phased-array transducer breast-specific MRgHIFU device with integrated 11-channel receiver array

A. Payne, R. Merrill, E. Minalga, U. Vyas, J. De Bever, N. Todd, R. Hadley, E. Dumont, L. Neumayer, D. Christensen, R. Roemer, D. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: This work presents the design and preliminary evaluation of a new laterally mounted phased-array MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MRgHIFU) system with an integrated 11-channel phased-array radio frequency (RF) coil intended for breast cancer treatment. The design goals for the system included the ability to treat the majority of tumor locations, to increase the MR image's signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) throughout the treatment volume and to provide adequate comfort for the patient. Methods: In order to treat the majority of the breast volume, the device was designed such that the treated breast is suspended in a 17-cm diameter treatment cylinder. A laterally shooting 1-MHz, 256-element phased-array ultrasound transducer with flexible positioning is mounted outside the treatment cylinder. This configuration achieves a reduced water volume to minimize RF coil loading effects, to position the coils closer to the breast for increased signal sensitivity, and to reduce the MR image noise associated with using water as the coupling fluid. This design uses an 11-channel phased-array RF coil that is placed on the outer surface of the cylinder surrounding the breast. Mechanical positioning of the transducer and electronic steering of the focal spot enable placement of the ultrasound focus at arbitrary locations throughout the suspended breast. The treatment platform allows the patient to lie prone in a face-down position. The system was tested for comfort with 18 normal volunteers and SNR capabilities in one normal volunteer and for heating accuracy and stability in homogeneous phantom and inhomogeneous ex vivo porcine tissue. Results: There was a 61% increase in mean relative SNR achieved in a homogeneous phantom using the 11-channel RF coil when compared to using only a single-loop coil around the chest wall. The repeatability of the system's energy delivery in a single location was excellent, with less than 3% variability between repeated temperature measurements at the same location. The execution of a continuously sonicated, predefined 48-point, 8-min trajectory path resulted in an ablation volume of 8.17 cm3, with one standard deviation of 0.35 cm3 between inhomogeneous ex vivo tissue samples. Comfort testing resulted in negligible side effects for all volunteers. Conclusions: The initial results suggest that this new device will potentially be suitable for MRgHIFU treatment in a wide range of breast sizes and tumor locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1552-1560
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • MRI
  • breast
  • high intensity focused ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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