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David Moser, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, and Daniel Jeanmonod

The object of this study was to describe a method of measuring targeting accuracy in functional neurosurgery using MR imaging and the Stereotactic Atlas of the Human Thalamus and Basal Ganglia. This method should be useful for any functional procedure using these tools or similar ones, and is described here in the specific context of focused ultrasound surgery. The authors describe the atlas coordinate system used, the different relevant targeting and accuracy definitions, the tools used, the intraoperative target determination, the postoperative target reconstructions, and the calculation of the therapeutic lesion volume. The proposed method has been applied to the specific situation of measuring targeting accuracy in focused ultrasound functional neurosurgery. The authors found mean absolute global targeting accuracies between 0.54 and 0.72 mm (SDs between 0.34 and 0.42 mm), with 85% of measured coordinates within 1 mm. The proposed method may be particularly useful in the context of functional neurosurgical procedures implying therapeutic ablations, be they through radiofrequency, focused ultrasound, or any other technique. This method allows an ongoing control of the targeting precision, a basic requirement in any functional neurosurgical procedure.

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Daniel Jeanmonod, Beat Werner, Anne Morel, Lars Michels, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, and Ernst Martin

Object

Recent technological developments open the field of therapeutic application of focused ultrasound to the brain through the intact cranium. The goal of this study was to apply the new transcranial magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (tcMRgFUS) technology to perform noninvasive central lateral thalamotomies (CLTs) as a treatment for chronic neuropathic pain.

Methods

In 12 patients suffering from chronic therapy-resistant neuropathic pain, tcMRgFUS CLT was proposed. In 11 patients, precisely localized thermal ablations of 3–4 mm in diameter were produced in the posterior part of the central lateral thalamic nucleus at peak temperatures between 51°C and 64°C with the aid of real-time patient monitoring and MR imaging and MR thermometry guidance. The treated neuropathic pain syndromes had peripheral (5 patients) or central (6 patients) origins and covered all body parts (face, arm, leg, trunk, and hemibody).

Results

Patients experienced mean pain relief of 49% at the 3-month follow-up (9 patients) and 57% at the 1-year follow-up (8 patients). Mean improvement according to the visual analog scale amounted to 42% at 3 months and 41% at 1 year. Six patients experienced immediate and persisting somatosensory improvements. Somatosensory and vestibular clinical manifestations were always observed during sonication time because of ultrasound-based neuronal activation and/or initial therapeutic effects. Quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) showed a significant reduction in EEG spectral overactivities. Thermal ablation sites showed sharply delineated ellipsoidal thermolesions surrounded by short-lived vasogenic edema. Lesion reconstructions (18 lesions in 9 patients) demonstrated targeting precision within a millimeter for all 3 coordinates. There was 1 complication, a bleed in the target with ischemia in the motor thalamus, which led to the introduction of 2 safety measures, that is, the detection of a potential cavitation by a cavitation detector and the maintenance of sonication temperatures below 60°C.

Conclusions

The authors assert that tcMRgFUS represents a noninvasive, precise, and radiation-free neurosurgical technique for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The procedure avoids mechanical brain tissue shift and eliminates the risk of infection. The possibility of applying sonication thermal spots free from trajectory restrictions should allow one to optimize target coverage. The real-time continuous MR imaging and MR thermometry monitoring of targeting accuracy and thermal effects are major factors in optimizing precision, safety, and efficacy in an outpatient context.

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Hyun Ho Jung, Won Seok Chang, Itay Rachmilevitch, Tal Tlusty, Eyal Zadicario, and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECT

The authors report different MRI patterns in patients with essential tremor (ET) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) after transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) and discuss possible causes of occasional MRgFUS failure.

METHODS

Between March 2012 and August 2013, MRgFUS was used to perform unilateral thalamotomy in 11 ET patients and bilateral anterior limb capsulotomy in 6 OCD patients; in all patients symptoms were refractory to drug therapy. Sequential MR images were obtained in patients across a 6-month follow-up period.

RESULTS

For OCD patients, lesion size slowly increased and peaked 1 week after treatment, after which lesion size gradually decreased. For ET patients, lesions were visible immediately after treatment and markedly reduced in size as time passed. In 3 ET patients and 1 OCD patient, there was no or little temperature rise (i.e., < 52°C) during MRgFUS. Successful and failed patient groups showed differences in their ratio of cortical-to-bone marrow thickness (i.e., skull density).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found different MRI pattern evolution after MRgFUS for white matter and gray matter. Their results suggest that skull characteristics, such as low skull density, should be evaluated prior to MRgFUS to successfully achieve thermal rise.

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Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, Eyal Zadicario, Itay Rachmilevitch, Tal Tlusty, Shuki Vitek, and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECT

Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) was recently introduced as treatment for movement disorders such as essential tremor and advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although deep brain target lesions are successfully generated in most patients, the target area temperature fails to increase in some cases. The skull is one of the greatest barriers to ultrasonic energy transmission. The authors analyzed the skull-related factors that may have prevented an increase in target area temperatures in patients who underwent MRgFUS.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed data from clinical trials that involved MRgFUS for essential tremor, idiopathic PD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Data from 25 patients were included. The relationships between the maximal temperature during treatment and other factors, including sex, age, skull area of the sonication field, number of elements used, skull volume of the sonication field, and skull density ratio (SDR), were determined.

RESULTS

Among the various factors, skull volume and SDR exhibited relationships with the maximum temperature. Skull volume was negatively correlated with maximal temperature (p = 0.023, r2 = 0.206, y = 64.156 − 0.028x, whereas SDR was positively correlated with maximal temperature (p = 0.009, r2 = 0.263, y = 49.643 + 11.832x). The other factors correlate with the maximal temperature, although some factors showed a tendency to correlate.

CONCLUSIONS

Some skull-related factors correlated with the maximal target area temperature. Although the number of patients in the present study was relatively small, the results offer information that could guide the selection of MRgFUS candidates.

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So Hee Park, Myung Ji Kim, Hyun Ho Jung, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Seok Choi, Itay Rachmilevitch, Eyal Zadicario, and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECTIVE

Glioblastoma (GBM) remains fatal due to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which interferes with the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of repeated disruption of the BBB (BBBD) with MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) in patients with GBM during standard adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy.

METHODS

This study was a prospective, single-center, single-arm study. BBBD with MRgFUS was performed adjacent to the tumor resection margin on the 1st or 2nd day of the adjuvant TMZ chemotherapy at the same targets for 6 cycles. T2*-weighted/gradient echo (GRE) MRI was performed immediately after every sonication trial, and comprehensive MRI was performed at the completion of all sonication sessions. Radiological, laboratory, and clinical evaluations were performed 2 days before each planned BBBD.

RESULTS

From September 2018, 6 patients underwent 145 BBBD trials at various locations in the brain. The authors observed gadolinium-enhancing spots at the site of BBBD on T1-weighted MRI in 131 trials (90.3%) and 93 trials (64.1%) showed similar spots on T2*-weighted/GRE MRI. When the 2 sequences were combined, BBBD was observed in 134 targets (92.4%). The spots disappeared on follow-up MRI. There were no imaging changes related to BBBD and no clinical adverse effects during the 6 cycles.

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the first in which repetitive MRgFUS was performed at the same targets with a standard chemotherapy protocol for malignant brain tumor. BBBD with MRgFUS was performed accurately, repeatedly, and safely. Although a longer follow-up period is needed, this study allows for the possibility of other therapeutic agents that previously could not be used due to the BBB.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03712293 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Stephen J. Monteith, Ricky Medel, Neal F. Kassell, Max Wintermark, Matthew Eames, John Snell, Eyal Zadicario, Javier Grinfeld, Jason P. Sheehan, and W. Jeff Elias

Object

Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) is evolving as a treatment modality in neurosurgery. Until now, the trigeminal nerve was believed to be beyond the treatment envelope of existing high-frequency transcranial MRgFUS systems. In this study, the authors explore the feasibility of targeting the trigeminal nerve in a cadaveric model with temperature assessments using computer simulations and an in vitro skull phantom model fitted with thermocouples.

Methods

Six trigeminal nerves from 4 unpreserved cadavers were targeted in the first experiment. Preprocedural CT scanning of the head was performed to allow for a skull correction algorithm. Three-Tesla, volumetric, FIESTA MRI sequences were performed to delineate the trigeminal nerve and any vascular structures of the cisternal segment. The cadaver was positioned in a focused ultrasound transducer (650-kHz system, ExAblate Neuro, InSightec) so that the focus of the transducer was centered at the proximal trigeminal nerve, allowing for targeting of the root entry zone (REZ) and the cisternal segment. Real-time, 2D thermometry was performed during the 10- to 30-second sonication procedures. Post hoc MR thermometry was performed on a computer workstation at the conclusion of the procedure to analyze temperature effects at neuroanatomical areas of interest. Finally, the region of the trigeminal nerve was targeted in a gel phantom encased within a human cranium, and temperature changes in regions of interest in the skull base were measured using thermocouples.

Results

The trigeminal nerves were clearly identified in all cadavers for accurate targeting. Sequential sonications of 25–1500 W for 10–30 seconds were successfully performed along the length of the trigeminal nerve starting at the REZ. Real-time MR thermometry confirmed the temperature increase as a narrow focus of heating by a mean of 10°C. Postprocedural thermometry calculations and thermocouple experiments in a phantom skull were performed and confirmed minimal heating of adjacent structures including the skull base, cranial nerves, and cerebral vessels. For targeting, inclusion of no-pass regions through the petrous bone decreased collateral heating in the internal acoustic canal from 16.7°C without blocking to 5.7°C with blocking. Temperature at the REZ target decreased by 3.7°C with blocking. Similarly, for midcisternal targeting, collateral heating at the internal acoustic canal was improved from a 16.3°C increase to a 4.9°C increase. Blocking decreased the target temperature increase by 4.4°C for the same power settings.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates focal heating of up to 18°C in a cadaveric trigeminal nerve at the REZ and along the cisternal segment with transcranial MRgFUS. Significant heating of the skull base and surrounding neural structures did not occur with implementation of no-pass regions. However, in vivo studies are necessary to confirm the safety and efficacy of this potentially new, noninvasive treatment.

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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

Object

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.

Conclusions

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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Myung Ji Kim, So Hee Park, Kyung Won Chang, Yuhee Kim, Jing Gao, Maya Kovalevsky, Itay Rachmilevitch, Eyal Zadicario, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) provides real-time monitoring of patients to assess tremor control and document any adverse effects. MRgFUS of the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus has become an effective treatment option for medically intractable essential tremor (ET). The aim of this study was to analyze the correlations of clinical and technical parameters with 12-month outcomes after unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy for ET to help guide future clinical treatments.

METHODS

From October 2013 to January 2019, data on unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy from the original pivotal study and continued-access studies from three different geographic regions were collected. Authors of the present study retrospectively reviewed those data and evaluated the efficacy of the procedure on the basis of improvement in the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST) subscore at 1 year posttreatment. Safety was based on the rates of moderate and severe thalamotomy-related adverse events. Treatment outcomes in relation to various patient- and sonication-related parameters were analyzed in a large cohort of patients with ET.

RESULTS

In total, 250 patients were included in the present analysis. Improvement was sustained throughout the 12-month follow-up period, and 184 (73.6%) of 250 patients had minimal or no disability due to tremor (CRST subscore < 10) at the 12-month follow-up. Younger age and higher focal temperature (Tmax) correlated with tremor improvement in the multivariate analysis (OR 0.948, p = 0.013; OR 1.188, p = 0.025; respectively). However, no single statistically significant factor correlated with Tmax in the multivariate analysis. The cutoff value of Tmax in predicting a CRST subscore < 10 was 55.8°C. Skull density ratio (SDR) was positively correlated with heating efficiency (β = 0.005, p < 0.001), but no significant relationship with tremor improvement was observed. In the low-temperature group, 1–3 repetitions to the right target with 52°C ≤ Tmax ≤ 54°C was sufficient to generate sustained tremor suppression within the investigated follow-up period. The high-temperature group had a higher rate of balance disturbances than the low-temperature group (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors analyzed the data of 250 patients with the aim of improving practices for patient screening and determining treatment endpoints. These results may improve the safety, efficacy, and efficiency of MRgFUS thalamotomy for ET.