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MRgFUS is a noninvasive treatment used to treat painful bone metastases, providing patients with prompt pain relief and significant improvement in quality of life. The FDA approved the procedure for palliative treatment of bone metastasis in cancer patients. Since 2012, it has been used worldwide to safely provide relief to thousands of patients with painful bone tumors or metastases.

In addition to sarcoma (bone cancer) and bone metastases, MRgFUS can be used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer and lung cancer, as well as benign tumors.

We are one of only 19 centers in the U.S. performing MRgFUS, and the only center performing the procedure in Wisconsin.

How MRgFUS Works

MRgFUS technology uses energy that is generated by an ultrasound source, focused at a specific point in the body to treat the tissue that is causing pain. There is minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue, and since ultrasound energy passes through the skin, muscles, fat and other soft tissue, no incisions or inserted probes are needed.

Patients can usually go home the same day of the procedure and fully recover within a few days. Pain during recovery is usually minimal and well-controlled with nonprescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Why You Should Choose MRgFUS Therapy

Cancer that has metastasized to the bone can cause a significant amount of pain. Radiation therapy is one of the preferred treatment choices, but not all patients can receive it, and some choose not to have it. Patients who do receive radiation therapy could still have pain and may benefit from additional relief.

MRgFUS is a very safe and effective method to help provide significant pain relief to these patients.

Who Can Have MRgFUS?

Before considering MRgFUS, patients are carefully evaluated to determine whether MRgFUS will be helpful and to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Good candidates for MRgFUS include patients who:

  • Are not able to have radiation therapy, or who have decided against radiation therapy
  • Have failed standard radiation therapy
  • Have a bone or soft tissue tumor that is visible on a noncontrast magnetic resonance image.

Pain Relief and Other Benefits of MRgFUS

The biggest benefit of MRgFUS is that it is noninvasive — reducing the risk of infection and the pain of an incision. The treatment is completed within several hours and typically, it does not require hospitalization.

Patients have reported additional benefits of MRgFUS.

  • Rapid pain reduction
  • Reduced need for narcotics that have undesirable sedating side effects
  • Significant improvement in quality of life
  • Can incorporate MRgFUS into other cancer therapies

What to Expect During MRgFUS Therapy

After determining that you are a suitable candidate for MRgFUS, we will schedule your procedure. When you arrive, we will prep you for treatment. 

The procedure takes place over several hours, while you lie on the treatment table, comfortably asleep. After the treatment is done, we will monitor you to ensure your comfort during recovery. In most cases, you will go home the same day. 

Since MRgFUS works to destroy the nerves on the bone surface that are causing pain, you may have some sensitivity or discomfort immediately after treatment. Generally, any discomfort during the procedure is temporary and lasts only a few seconds. You will receive medication the day of the procedure to increase comfort and reduce pain. 

Does MRgFUS Treat the Cancer Itself?

The primary goal of MRgFUS is palliation — reduction of symptoms related to bone tumors. However, research is currently being performed to study future applications of MRgFUS, such as its effectiveness for treating bone cancers, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and desmoid tumors (benign, but painful soft tissue tumors or growths). Froedtert Hospital is part of a 10-center consortium participating in this research.