New publication: A rapid beam simulation framework for transcranial focused ultrasound

Transcranial focused ultrasound is a non-invasive therapeutic modality that can be used to treat essential tremor. Beams of energy are focused into a small spot in the thalamus, resulting in tissue heating and ablation.

In this paper, we report on a rapid 3D numeric simulation framework that can be used to predict the position, temperature, and shape of the focal spot prior to the application of ultrasound.

Figure 2. MR thermometry and simulation focal spots for a single sonication (patient D). The simulated temperature rise time curve was calculated using the bioheat equation.

By comparing with magnetic resonance proton resonance frequency shift thermometry (MR thermometry) data acquired during treatments of essential tremor, we verified that our simulation framework can be used to predict focal spot position, and with patient-specific calibration, predict focal spot temperature rise. Preliminary data suggests that lateral smearing of the focal spot can be simulated.

The framework may also be relevant for other therapeutic ultrasound applications such as blood brain barrier opening and neuromodulation.

Citation and links

Leung et al. 2019. A rapid beam simulation framework for transcranial focused ultrasound. Scientific Reports. (link to article


Ph.D. Student in Bioengineering, admitted Autumn 2013
Sr Res Scientist-Physical, Rad/Radiological Sciences Laboratory
Assistant Professor of Radiology (General Radiology) and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery and of Urology at the Stanford University Medical Center
Professor of Radiology (Radiological Sciences Lab) and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering and of Bioengineering