Apr 18, 2020

Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Generates Skull-Conducted Shear Waves: Computational Model and Implications for Neuromodulation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
H. SalahshoorM. Ortiz

Abstract

Focused ultrasound (FUS) is an established technique for the non-invasive surgery and has recently attracted considerable attention as a potential method for non-invasive neuromodulation. While the pressure waves generated by FUS in this context have been extensively studied, the accompanying shear waves are often neglected due to the relatively high shear compliance of soft tissues. However, in bony structures such as the skull, acoustic pressure can also induce significant shear waves that could propagate outside the ultrasound focus. Here, we investigate wave propagation in the human cranium by means of a finite- element model that accounts for the anatomy, elasticity and viscoelasticity of the skull and brain. We show that, when a region on the frontal lobe is subjected to FUS, the skull acts as a wave guide for shear waves, resulting in their propagation to off-target structures such as the cochlea. This effect helps explain the off-target auditory responses observed during neuromodulation experiments and informs the development of mitigation and sham control strategies.

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