High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
Physics, Instrumentation, & Medical Applications

  Introduction Physics Instrumentation Medical Applications References  

High intensity focused ultrasound, abbreviated as HIFU, is an acoustic wave technique in which pressure waves at ultrasound frequency are used in the treatment of various medical conditions including many types of cancers, uterine fibroids, drug delivery to the brain, and treatment of atrial fibrillation. It can be a non-invasive (transcutaneous) or minimally invasive (transrectal) technique depending on the treatment site. HIFU has been under investigation since 1942, when the first paper on the idea was published [1]. While clinical applications of the technology, including treatments for neurological disorders, neurosurgery and cancer [2], have been investigated in the ensuing years, serious attempts at an FDA approved instrument were not attempted until the 1990s due mainly to technological limitations. HIFU as a medical treatment has been widely investigated in Europe and in Asia but less so in the United States as it is currently in clinical trials. To date, HIFU has not yet been approved to treat cancer in the United States, despite the fact that one of the two instruments in clinical use today was developed in the United States.  
HIFU princple of action in medical applications [2]

Please check out the links above to learn more about the theory behind HIFU, the instrumentation, and more about the medical applications and present clinical trials. Enjoy!

Created by Austin Moy
BME 240: Intro to Clinical Medicine
Biomedical Engineering
University of California, Irvine
Last Updated: June 11, 2008