Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) is a novel combination of technologies that is actively being realized as a noninvasive therapeutic tool for a myriad of conditions. These applications are reviewed with a focus on neurological use. A combined search of PubMed and MEDLINE was performed to identify the key events and current status of MRgFUS, with a focus on neurological applications. MRgFUS signifies a potentially ideal device for the treatment of neurological diseases. As it is nearly real time, it allows monitored provision of treatment location and energy deposition; is noninvasive, thereby limiting or eliminating disruption of normal tissue; provides focal delivery of therapeutic agents; enhances radiation delivery; and permits modulation of neural function. Multiple clinical applications are currently in clinical use and many more are under active preclinical investigation. The therapeutic potential of MRgFUS is expanding rapidly. Although clinically in its infancy, preclinical and early-phase I clinical trials in neurosurgery suggest a promising future for MRgFUS. Further investigation is necessary to define its true potential and impact.
ABBREVIATIONS: BBB, blood–brain barrier
HIFU, high-intensity focused ultrasound
MRgFUS, magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound surgery
tPA, tissue plasminogen activator