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Stephen J. Monteith, Sagi Harnof, Ricky Medel, Britney Popp, Max Wintermark, M. Beatriz S. Lopes, Neal F. Kassell, W. Jeff Elias, John Snell, Matthew Eames, Eyal Zadicario, Krisztina Moldovan and Jason Sheehan


Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. Surgical techniques are limited by their invasive nature and the associated disability caused during clot removal. Preliminary data have shown promise for the feasibility of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) sonothrombolysis in liquefying the clotted blood in ICH and thereby facilitating minimally invasive evacuation of the clot via a twist-drill craniostomy and aspiration tube.

Methods and Results

In an in vitro model, the following optimum transcranial sonothrombolysis parameters were determined: transducer center frequency 230 kHz, power 3950 W, pulse repetition rate 1 kHz, duty cycle 10%, and sonication duration 30 seconds. Safety studies were performed in swine (n = 20). In a swine model of ICH, MRgFUS sonothrombolysis of 4 ml ICH was performed. Magnetic resonance imaging and histological examination demonstrated complete lysis of the ICH without additional brain injury, blood-brain barrier breakdown, or thermal necrosis due to sonothrombolysis. A novel cadaveric model of ICH was developed with 40-ml clots implanted into fresh cadaveric brains (n = 10). Intracerebral hemorrhages were successfully liquefied (> 95%) with transcranial MRgFUS in a highly accurate fashion, permitting minimally invasive aspiration of the lysate under MRI guidance.


The feasibility of transcranial MRgFUS sonothrombolysis was demonstrated in in vitro and cadaveric models of ICH. Initial in vivo safety data in a swine model of ICH suggest the process to be safe. Minimally invasive treatment of ICH with MRgFUS warrants evaluation in the setting of a clinical trial.

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Stephen J. Monteith, Neal F. Kassell, Oded Goren and Sagi Harnof

Intracerebral hemorrhage remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Current surgical therapies aim to use a minimally invasive approach to remove as much of the clot as possible without causing undue disruption to surrounding neural structures. Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) surgery is an emerging technology that permits a highly concentrated focal point of ultrasound energy to be deposited to a target deep within the brain without an incision or craniotomy. With appropriate ultrasound parameters it has been shown that MRgFUS can effectively liquefy large-volume blood clots through the human calvaria. In this review the authors discuss the rationale for using MRgFUS to noninvasively liquefy intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), thereby permitting minimally invasive aspiration of the liquefied clot via a small drainage tube. The mechanism of action of MRgFUS sonothrombolysis; current investigational work with in vitro, in vivo, and cadaveric models of ICH; and the potential clinical application of this disruptive technology for the treatment of ICH are discussed.