Characterization of Lesion Formation and Bubble Activities during High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation using Temperature-Derived Parameters

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Infrared Physics & Technology


Successful high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) thermal tissue ablation relies on accurate information of the tissue temperature and tissue status. Often temperature measurements are used to predict and monitor the ablation process. In this study, we conducted HIFU ablation experiments with ex vivo porcine myocardium tissue specimens to identify changes in temperature associated with tissue coagulation and bubble/cavity formation. Using infrared (IR) thermography and synchronized bright-field imaging with HIFU applied near the tissue surface, parameters derived from the spatiotemporal evolution of temperature were correlated with HIFU-induced lesion formation and overheating, of which the latter typically results in cavity generation and/or tissue dehydration. Emissivity of porcine myocardium was first measured to be 0.857 ± 0.006 (n = 3). HIFU outcomes were classified into non-ablative, normal lesion, and overheated lesion. A marked increase in the rate of temperature change during HIFU application was observed with lesion formation. A criterion using the maximum normalized second time derivative of temperature change provided 99.1% accuracy for lesion identification with a 0.05 s−1 threshold. Asymmetric temperature distribution on the tissue surface was observed to correlate with overheating and/or bubble generation. A criterion using the maximum displacement of the spatial location of the peak temperature provided 90.9% accuracy to identify overheated lesion with a 0.16 mm threshold. Spatiotemporal evolution of temperature obtained using IR imaging allowed determination of the critical cumulative equivalent minutes at 43 °C (CEM43) for lesion formation to be 170 min. Similar temperature characteristics indicative of lesion formation and overheating were identified for subsurface HIFU ablation. These results suggest that parameters derived from temperature changes during HIFU application are associated with irreversible changes in tissue and may provide useful information for monitoring HIFU treatment.



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This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (R01 EB008999). The authors would also like to acknowledge J. Beeney for assistance on the implementation of the IR imaging and Madhu S.R. Gudur for discussion on calculation of CEM43 for thermal damage.

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Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.