Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Using Sound Waves in Brain Surgery

A breakthrough approach to brain surgery that uses sound waves to destroy diseased tissues in your brain, thus avoiding opening the skull. From the article:

"The groundbreaking finding here is that you can make lesions deep in the brain--through the intact skull and skin--with extreme precision and accuracy and safety ... The ultrasound beams are focused on a specific point in the brain--the exact location depends on the condition being treated--that absorbs the energy and converts it to heat. This raises the temperature to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit and kills the cells in a region approximately 10 cubic millimeters in volume. The entire system is integrated with a magnetic resonance scanner, which allows neurosurgeons to make sure they target the correct piece of brain tissue"

Future tests will involve patients with Parkinson's disease.

You can read more details in the Technology Review.

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