Ultrasound can penetrate deep into tissues and interact with human tissue via thermal and mechanical mechanisms. The ability to focus an ultrasound beam and its energy onto millimeter-size targets was a significant milestone in the development of therapeutic applications of focused ultrasound. Focused ultrasound can be used as a non-invasive thermal ablation technique for tumor treatment and is being developed as an option to standard oncologic therapies. High-intensity focused ultrasound has now been used for clinical treatment of a variety of solid malignant tumors, including those in the pancreas, liver, kidney, bone, prostate, and breast, as well as uterine fibroids and soft-tissue sarcomas. Magnetic resonance imaging and Ultrasound imaging can be combined with high intensity focused ultrasound to provide real-time imaging during ablation. Magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound represents a novel non-invasive method of treatment that may play an important role as an alternative to open neurosurgical procedures for treatment of a number of brain disorders. This paper briefly reviews the underlying principles of HIFU and presents current applications, outcomes, and complications after treatment. Recent applications of Focused ultrasound for tumor treatment, drug delivery, vessel occlusion, histotripsy, movement disorders, and vascular, oncologic, and psychiatric applications are reviewed, along with clinical challenges and potential future clinical applications of HIFU.
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