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Catheter-based ultrasound technology for image-guided thermal therapy: Current technology and applications


Catheter-based ultrasound (CBUS) is applied to deliver minimally invasive thermal therapy to solid cancer tumours, benign tissue growth, vascular disease, and tissue remodelling. Compared to other energy modalities used in catheter-based surgical interventions, unique features of ultrasound result in conformable and precise energy delivery with high selectivity, fast treatment times, and larger treatment volumes. We present a concise review of CBUS technology being currently utilized in animal and clinical studies or being developed for future applications. CBUS devices have been categorised into interstitial, endoluminal and endovascular/cardiac applications. Basic applicator designs, site-specific evaluations and possible treatment applications have been discussed in brief. Particular emphasis has been given to ablation studies that incorporate image guidance for applicator placement, therapy monitoring, feedback control, and post-procedure assessment. Examples of devices included here span the entire spectrum of the development cycle from preliminary simulation-based design studies to implementation in clinical investigations. The use of CBUS under image guidance has the potential for significantly improving precision and applicability of thermal therapy delivery.

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