Focused Ultrasound: A Time Magazine Best Invention of 2011

by Fergus V. Coakley, M.D. on December 28, 2011

It’s been quite a year for MR- guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRg- FUS). Less than a year after the installation of the National Institute of Health- funded system at UCSF, focused ultrasound has been named one of the 50 most inspired ideas, innovations and revolutions of 2011 by TIME Magazine. In July 2010, UCSF became the first site in the country to be awarded a high- end instrumentation grant from the NIH for the purchase of this cutting edge therapeutic technology.

MRg- FUS combines two well known medical technologies, high intensity focused ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, to generate heat by focusing ultrasound waves, destroying targeted tissue at the focal point. The technology has the potential to treat a variety of medical problems, including certain diseases with no known solutions.

The increased exposure of the revolutionary surgery in TIME “marks a critical inflection point for focused ultrasound therapy. We can finally stop calling it ‘medicine’s best kept secret’ because the word is getting out,” says Neal Kassell, MD, FUS Foundation Chairman.  According to Dr. Kassel, “Once the medical community understands that focused ultrasound can destroy tumors, dissolve clots, relieve pain and deliver medicines to precise targets without damaging incisions, this remarkable technology will become a standard of care for many of today’s most deadly and debilitating conditions.”

UCSF now offers this revolutionary technology to patients across the country. For more information on Focused Ultrasound Surgery, please see the UCSF Radiology & Biomedical Imaging website.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

SMB January 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Does this not cause irreversible cell damage ?


Dr. Fergus Coakley January 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yes, the goal of the treatment is to cause cell death within the treatment volume.


Anna March 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

who invented it and when?


enh4ncer January 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Last time I’ve read many old articles about ultrasounds and every time i finds out something interesting that i didn’t know before, but first time found that it could be used for treatment. It invention sound really good


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