High intensity focused ultrasound (abbreviated as HIFU) has its potential in tumor treatment due to its non-invasive benefits. During HIFU exposure, cavitation (generation of gas bubbles) is often observed, which can be an indication of potential lesion created by HIFU power. Due to a large difference in ultrasound acoustic properties between the gas bubble and surrounding tissues, ultrasonic energy is reflected and scattered at the HIFU focus, thus indicating activity around the focal area and often interfering HIFU dosage delivery. A good understanding and control of cavitation phenomenon could potentially enhance the HIFU delivery and treatment outcomes. Quantifying the onset timing and extent of the cavitation could be potentially used for detecting HIFU effects and therapy guidance. In this paper, we study the relationships among HIFU parameters, the characteristics of cavitation quantified from ultrasound imaging, and characteristics of the final tissue lesion created by HIFU.
In our study, we used 12 freshly excised pig brains in vitro for observation and analysis of cavitation activities during HIFU exposure with different HIFU parameters. Final lesions were examined by slicing the brain tissues into thin slices and 3D volume was constructed with segmentation of the lesion. HIFU parameters, cavitation activities through image processing and lesion characterization were correlated. We also present our initial understanding of the process of cavitation activities under certain HIFU parameters and control of such activities that could lead to optimal lesion