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Image-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technique is dynamically developing technology for treating solid tumors due to its non-invasive nature. Before a HIFU ablation system is ready for use, the exposure parameters of the HIFU beam capable of destroying the treated tissue without damaging the surrounding tissues should be selected to ensure the safety of therapy. The purpose of this work was to select the threshold acoustic power as well as the step and rate of movement of the HIFU beam, generated by a transducer intended to be used in the HIFU ablation system being developed, by using an array of thermocouples and numerical simulations. For experiments a bowl-shaped 64-mm, 1.05 MHz HIFU transducer with a 62.6 mm focal length (f-number 0.98) generated pulsed waves propagating in two-layer media: water/ex vivo pork loin tissue (50 mm/40 mm) was used. To determine a threshold power of the HIFU beam capable of creating the necrotic lesion in a small volume within the tested tissue during less than 3 s each tissue sample was sonicated by multiple parallel HIFU beams of different acoustic power focused at a depth of 12.6 mm below the tissue surface. Location of the maximum heating as well as the relaxation time of the tested tissue were determined from temperature variations recorded during and after sonication by five thermo-couples placed along the acoustic axis of each HIFU beam as well as from numerical simulations. The obtained results enabled to assess the location of each necrotic lesion as well as to determine the step and rate of the HIFU beam movement. The location and extent of the necrotic lesions created was verified using ultrasound images of tissue after sonication and visual inspection after cutting the samples. The threshold acoustic power of the HIFU beam capable of creating the local necrotic lesion in the tested tissue within 3 s without damaging of surrounding tissues was found to be 24 W, and the pause between sonications was found to be more than 40 s.
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