Focused ultrasound (FUS), also called high-intensity focused ultrasound [HIFU]), is a procedure that uses sound waves to treat some conditions. The sound waves heat up and destroy or change tiny patches of your body tissue without affecting the surrounding tissue.
Focused ultrasound can treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Essential tremor
- Uterine fibroids
- Parkinson's disease
- Fibroadenomas of the breast and some cancers
- Melanoma and other solid tumors
How Does Focused Ultrasound Work?
Similar to how a magnifying glass can focus beams of light on a single point, focused ultrasound uses an acoustic lens to concentrate multiple sound waves on a point in the body. Your providers use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide the waves and target diseased tissue.
Benefits of FUS
Due to the nature of the intersecting beams, focused ultrasound offers:
- The ability to reach targets deep in the body
- A way to treat very small targets (as small as 1x1.5 mm or as large as 10x16 mm)
- Extreme precision and accuracy
- Quick recovery
Because there are no cuts to your body and you don’t need full anesthesia, you’ll likely be able to go home the same or next day after your procedure.
A Visual Guide
More precise. Better outcomes. Faster recovery. See how it works.
FDA Approved & Clinical Trials
It's important to note:
- The FDA has only approved focused ultrasound for treating essential tremor and Parkinson's disease.
- Some insurance plans don't cover this procedure. Check with your health insurance provider to see if they do.
- Not everyone is eligible for focused ultrasound; eligibility requires evaluation.
UVA Health offers clinical trials investigating focused ultrasound's effectiveness in treating other conditions. These include a trial for those with a non-cancerous breast lump, and a trial for those with pain from head & neck cancers.