Workflow and intervention times of MR-guided focused ultrasound: Predicting the impact of new techniques

Arjo Loeve, Jumani Al-Issawi, Fabiola Frenandez-Gutiérrez, T Lango, J Strehlow, S Haase, Matthias Matzko, Alessandro Napoli, A Melzer, Jenny Dankelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) has become an attractive, non-invasive treatment for benign and malignant tumours, and offers specific benefits for poorly accessible locations in the liver. However, the presence of the ribcage and the occurrence of liver motion due to respiration limit the applicability MRgFUS. Several techniques are being developed to address these issues or to decrease treatment times in other ways. However, the potential benefit of such improvements has not been quantified.
In this research, the detailed workflow of current MRgFUS procedures was determined qualitatively and quantitatively by using observation studies on uterine MRgFUS interventions, and the bottlenecks in MRgFUS were identified. A validated simulation model based on discrete events simulation was developed to quantitatively predict the effect of new technological developments on the intervention duration of MRgFUS on the liver. During the observation studies, the duration and occurrence frequencies of all actions and decisions in the MRgFUS workflow were registered, as were the occurrence frequencies of motion detections and intervention halts. The observation results show that current MRgFUS uterine interventions take on average 213 min. Organ motion was detected on average 2.9 times per intervention, of which on average 1.0 actually caused a need for rework. Nevertheless, these motion occurrences and the actions required to continue after their detection consumed on average 11% and up to 29% of the total intervention duration. The simulation results suggest that, depending on the motion occurrence frequency, the addition of new technology to automate currently manual MRgFUS tasks and motion compensation could potentially reduce the intervention durations by 98.4% (from 256 h 5 min to 4 h
4 min) in the case of 90% motion occurrence, and with 24% (from 5 h 19 min to 4 h 2 min) in the case of no motion. In conclusion, new tools were developed to predict how intervention durations will be affected by future workflow changes and by the introduction of new technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • workflow analysis
  • focused ultrasound surgery
  • workflow simulation
  • MRgFUS
  • high intensity focused ultrasound


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