Thermal ablation of a confluent lesion in the porcine kidney with a clinically available MR-HIFU system

J. M.M. Van Breugel, M. De Greef, J. W. Wijlemans, G. Schubert, M. A.A.J. Van Den Bosch, C. T.W. Moonen, M. G. Ries

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The incidence of small renal masses (SRMs) sized <4 cm has increased over the decades (as co-findings/or due to introduction of cross sectional imaging). Currently, partial nephrectomy (PN) or watchful waiting is advised in these patients. Ultimately, 80-90% of these SRMs require surgical treatment and PN is associated with a 15% complication rate. In this aging population, with possible comorbidities and poor health condition, both PN and watchful waiting are non-ideal treatment options. This resulted in an increased need for early, non-invasive treatment strategies such as MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MR-HIFU). (i) To investigate the feasibility of creating a confluent lesion in the kidney using respiratory-gated MR-HIFU under clinical conditions in a pre-clinical study and (ii) to evaluate the reproducibility of the MR-HIFU ablation strategy. Healthy pigs (n = 10) under general anesthesia were positioned on a clinical MR-HIFU system with integrated cooling. A honeycomb pattern of seven overlapping ablation cells (4 × 4 × 10 mm3, 450 W, <30 s) was ablated successively in the cortex of the porcine kidney. Both MR thermometry and acoustic energy delivery were respiratory gated using a pencil beam navigator on the contralateral kidney. The non-perfused volume (NPV) was visualized after the last sonication by contrast-enhanced (CE) T 1-weighted MR (T 1 w) imaging. Cell viability staining was performed to visualize the extent of necrosis. Results: a median NPV of 0.62 ml was observed on CE-T 1 w images (IQR 0.58-1.57 ml, range 0.33-2.75 ml). Cell viability staining showed a median damaged volume of 0.59 ml (IQR 0.24-1.35 ml, range 0-4.1 ml). Overlooking of the false rib, shivering of the pig, and too large depth combined with a large heat-sink effect resulted in insufficient heating in 4 cases. The NPV and necrosed volume were confluent in all cases in which an ablated volume could be observed. Our results demonstrated the feasibility of creating a confluent volume of ablated kidney cortical tissue in vivo with MR-HIFU on a clinically available system using respiratory gating and near-field cooling and showed its reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5312-5326
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical MR-HIFU
  • confluent lesion
  • kidney
  • pencil beam navigator
  • renal lesion
  • respiratory gating
  • thermal ablation


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