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Magnetic Resonance High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MR-HIFU)

A Magnetic Resonance High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MR-HIFU) is a procedure in which a radiologist uses the aid of magnetic resonance imaging to focus an ultrasound beam into lesions, usually tumors of the bone, to heat and destroy the tissue in that region. There are no incisions to the skin at all.

About this Treatment

About this Treatment

How do we perform an MR-HIFU?

Using a magnetic resonance scan for guidance, a radiologist places a special ultrasound transducer near the area of tissue that requires treatment.

Next, the doctor “turns on” the ultrasound frequency, which heats the target tissue to a predetermined temperature, causing destruction of that tissue while preserving the surrounding normal tissue. The tumor or lesion is not removed; over time it will be replaced with scar tissue.

Will my child be awake for the MR-HIFU?

No. Your child will be given either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

How long will the MR-HIFU take?

One to two hours.

Will my child have pain during or after the MR-HIFU procedure?

Your child will be asleep and not feel pain during the procedure and most children immediately feel less pain after the procedure.

What are the risks of MR-HIFU?

The procedure is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:

  • Blood vessel or nerve damage
  • Bone fracture (rare)
  • Skin burn at the transducer site
  • Infection
  • Incomplete treatment; recurrence of lesion

Pre and Post Operative Care

Pre and Post Operative Care

How do my child and I prepare for the MR-HIFU procedure?

We encourage good communication between you and your child, including the necessity and overview of the procedure as well as ensuring them that you are close by the whole time. Holding them or their hands until they leave for the procedure is a great way to provide support.

You will be given specific instructions along the way but you may need to arrive a few hours before the scheduled procedure to have some blood tests done. When you arrive at the hospital, a doctor will review the procedure and associated risks, after which you will sign a consent form. When we are ready to get started with the procedure, a nurse will place an intravenous line to deliver sedating medications and you will be allowed to accompany your child in the operating room until they are asleep, after which you will be escorted to a waiting room.

When will my child be able to go home after the MR-HIFU procedure?

Your child will be able to go home on the same day. We will bring your child to the recovery area after the procedure. Once your child is awake and able to keep liquids down, you will be able to take him or her home.

When can my child bathe after the MR-HIFU procedure?

Your child may resume normal bathing or showering immediately after the procedure.

Are there any activity restrictions after the MR-HIFU procedure?

Your child can resume most activities the day after the procedure. Sometimes weight-bearing activities such as heavy lifting must be restricted. Please ask the doctor or other member of the Interventional Radiology team about returning to sports or strenuous activity, as this may depend on the area that was treated


  • •     Redness, pain, swelling, or bruising at the needle insertion site.
  • •     Fever higher than 101° Fahrenheit or 38° Celsius.
  • •     A change in color or temperature to the associated extremity.
  • •     Numbness, swelling, or pain of the associated extremity.

The Department of Interventional Radiology can be reached at: 202-476-3791, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

At all other times, please call 202-259-8643, which is the on-call pager. Follow the instructions and wait for a call back.



Interventional Radiology

Children’s National interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children, and adolescents.

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