06425867 is referenced by 461 patents.
Method and apparatus for the simultaneous use of ultrasound on a probe for imaging and therapeutic purposes. The probe limits the effects of undesirable interference noise in a display by synchronizing high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) waves with an imaging transducer to cause the noise to be displayed in an area of the image that does not overlap the treatment site. In one embodiment, the HIFU is first energized at a low power level that does not cause tissue damage, so that the focal point of the HIFU can be identified by a change in the echogenicity of the tissue caused by the HIFU. Once the focal point is properly targeted on a desired treatment site, the power level is increased to a therapeutic level. The location of each treatment site is stored and displayed to the user to enable a plurality of spaced-apart treatment sites to be achieved. As the treatment progresses, any changes in the treatment site can be seen in the real time, noise-free image. A preferred application of the HIFU waves is to cause lesions in blood vessels, so that the supply of nutrients and oxygen to a region, such as a tumor, is interrupted. The tumor will thus eventually be destroyed. In a preferred embodiment, the HIFU is used to treat disorders of the female reproductive system, such as uterine fibroids. The HIFU treatment can be repeated at spaced-apart intervals, until any remaining fibroid tissue is destroyed.