BackgroundDuring lengthy magnetic resonance-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MRg-HIFU) thermal ablations in abdominal organs, the therapeutic work-flow is frequently hampered by various types of physiological motion occurring at different time-scales. If left un-addressed this can lead to an incomplete therapy and/or to tissue damage of organs-at-risk. While previous studies focus on correction schemes for displacements occurring at a particular time-scale within the work-flow of an MRg-HIFU therapy, in the current work we propose a motion correction strategy encompassing the entire work-flow.MethodsThe proposed motion compensation framework consists of several linked components, each being adapted to motion occurring at a particular time-scale. While respiration was addressed through a fast correction scheme, long term organ drifts were compensated using a strategy operating on time-scales of several minutes. The framework relies on a periodic examination of the treated area via MR scans which are then registered to a reference scan acquired at the beginning of the therapy. The resulting displacements were used for both on-the-fly re-optimization of the interventional plan and to ensure the spatial fidelity between the different steps of the therapeutic work-flow. The approach was validated in three complementary studies: an experiment conducted on a phantom undergoing a known motion pattern, a study performed on the abdomen of 10 healthy volunteers and during 3 in-vivo MRg-HIFU ablations on porcine liver.ResultsResults have shown that, during lengthy MRg-HIFU thermal therapies, the human liver and kidney can manifest displacements that exceed acceptable therapeutic margins. Also, it was demonstrated that the proposed framework is capable of providing motion estimates with sub-voxel precision and accuracy. Finally, the 3 successful animal studies demonstrate the compatibility of the proposed approach with the work-flow of an MRg-HIFU intervention under clinical conditions.ConclusionsIn the current study we proposed an image-based motion compensation framework dedicated to MRg-HIFU thermal ablations in the abdomen, providing the possibility to re-optimize the therapy plan on-the-fly with the patient on the interventional table. Moreover, we have demonstrated that even under clinical conditions, the proposed approach is fully capable of continuously ensuring the spatial fidelity between the different phases of the therapeutic work-flow.