Non-invasive ultrasound-based temperature imaging for monitoring radiofrequency heating-phantom results

M J Daniels, T Varghese, E L Madsen, J A Zagzebski
Physics in Medicine and Biology 2007 August 21, 52 (16): 4827-43
Minimally invasive therapies (such as radiofrequency ablation) are becoming more commonly used in the United States for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinomas and liver metastases. Unfortunately, these procedures suffer from high recurrence rates of hepatocellular carcinoma ( approximately 34-55%) or metastases following ablation therapy. The ability to perform real-time temperature imaging while a patient is undergoing radiofrequency ablation could provide a significant reduction in these recurrence rates. In this paper, we demonstrate the feasibility of ultrasound-based temperature imaging on a tissue-mimicking phantom undergoing radiofrequency heating. Ultrasound echo signals undergo time shifts with increasing temperature, which are tracked using 2D correlation-based speckle tracking methods. Time shifts or displacements in the echo signal are accumulated, and the gradient of these time shifts are related to changes in the temperature of the tissue-mimicking phantom material using a calibration curve generated from experimental data. A tissue-mimicking phantom was developed that can undergo repeated radiofrequency heating procedures. Both sound speed and thermal expansion changes of the tissue-mimicking material were measured experimentally and utilized to generate the calibration curve relating temperature to the displacement gradient. Temperature maps were obtained, and specific regions-of-interest on the temperature maps were compared to invasive temperatures obtained using fiber-optic temperature probes at the same location. Temperature elevation during a radiofrequency ablation procedure on the phantom was successfully tracked to within +/-0.5 degrees C.

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