Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Outside Approval Square

Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with back pain, as a common cause is arthritis of the facet joints. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling back pain to be treated without surgery. Focused ultrasound is able to destroy the sensory nerves which reduces the back pain.

The primary options for treatment of back pain include medication and invasive surgery.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.

Clinical Trials Square

Advantages:

  • Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
  • Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
  • It can be repeated, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

A clinical trial in Taiwan is looking at treating facet arthritis causing low back pain with focused ultrasound. 

A clinical trial in Canada is using focused ultrasound to treat facet arthritis causing low back pain. 

See a list of back pain clinical trials > 
See a list of laboratory research sites >

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

The Insightec magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound system has been approved in Europe and Russia for the treatment of facetogenic back pain.

Notable Papers

Scipione R, Anzidei M, Bazzocchi A, Gagliardo C, Catalano C, Napoli A. HIFU for Bone Metastases and other Musculoskeletal Applications. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2018 Oct;35(4):261-267. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1673363. Epub 2018 Nov 5. Review.

Krug R, Do L, Rieke V, Wilson MW, Saeed M. Evaluation of MRI protocols for the assessment of lumbar facet joints after MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment. J Ther Ultrasound. 2016 Apr 6;4:14. doi: 10.1186/s40349-016-0057-8. eCollection 2016.

Filippiadis DK, Kelekis A. A review of percutaneous techniques for low back pain and neuralgia: current trends in epidural infiltrations, intervertebral disk and facet joint therapies. Br J Radiol. 2016;89(1057):20150357. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20150357. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

Weeks EM, Platt MW, Gedroyc W. MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) to treat facet joint osteoarthritis low back pain-case series of an innovative new technique. Eur Radiol. 2012 Dec;22(12):2822-35. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

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