Computational Modeling Towards Focused Ultrasound Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury: Visualization of Beam Propagation through Patient-Specific Anatomy

Avisha Kumar, Yohannes Tsehay, Eduardo Gonzalez, Max J. Kerensky, Muyinatu A. Lediju Bell, Nicholas Theodore, Nitish V. Thakor, Amir Manbachi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Ultrasound holds promise for use in spinal cord injury cases for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Focused ultrasound applications demand an added threshold of study to ensure the safety and efficacy of the therapy. For optimal treatment outcomes, it is crucial to understand whether relevant structures are being targeting with sufficient energy without damaging neighboring tissue and vasculature. However, it is difficult to predict the expected displacement and pressure profile of the ultrasound wavefront due to challenges with visualizing an acoustic beam in real-time and complex patient-specific anatomy. This challenge is particularly prominent in anatomies with varying medium acoustic properties that cause reflection and distortion of the signal, which is inherent to the composition of the spinal cord and is exacerbated by the formations of injury-induced hematomas. Incorrect placement of focused ultrasound transducers can be detrimental to patient health, specifically if therapeutic ultrasound is used at higher intensities, as the beam propagation can target healthy tissue and important structures that could lead to tissue damage and death. We study how computational tools can be leveraged to aid placement of the transducer using an ultrasound simulation software, Wave 3000 Plus, that allows for the visualization of ultrasound propagation through anatomical structures. By simulating the propagation of ultrasound beams through patient-specific Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images, we study computational approaches to determine the optimal placement of devices. In this study, we use in vivo porcine spinal cord images following spinal cord injury (as an example medical use case) to determine if the injury site is being targeted appropriately and to visualize the distribution of pressure throughout the simulation. We demonstrate that Wave 3000 Plus is a viable approach for visualizing ultrasound propagation through patient-specific anatomies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2023
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
EditorsCristian A. Linte, Jeffrey H. Siewerdsen
ISBN (Electronic)9781510660373
StatePublished - 2023
EventMedical Imaging 2023: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - San Diego, United States
Duration: Feb 19 2023Feb 23 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2023: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • patient-specific therapy optimization
  • simulation
  • spinal cord injury
  • ultrasound propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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