Pain Localization


To conduct clinical testing of an ultrasound device that health-care providers can use to identify the sources and extent of deep pain

Anticipated Impact: 

Confirmation, localization, and quantification of pain in limbs remaining after amputation, as well as validation of a surgical technique to lessen neuroma-triggered pain


Deep, soft tissue pain is very difficult to localize, making appropriate treatment difficult. Through an LSDF grant and other prior work, the principal investigator’s team has developed a device and method to gently “press” on a focal point using ultrasound, which is generally considered to be very safe. Termed image-guided intense focused ultrasound, or ig-iFU, the technology can simultaneously image and stimulate the area being examined and has been demonstrated safe and effective in an animal model. The current study will conduct a small human trial, comparing amputees who have been subjected to “standard” amputation with those who have received targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR), which is intended but not proven to reduce pain that results from nerves that have been cut. The study will also measure the intensity of pain produced by ig-iFU, rather than relying only on subject reporting.

Collaborating organization: PhysioSonics

"Training the next generation of innovators" story sheet

Pain Detection, Localization

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Pierre Mourad
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Definitive Human Testing of Pain Localization and Quantification Based on Transcutaneous Acoustic Palpation (TAP)
Grant Cohort and Year:
2011 First Round Commercialization (03)
Grant Period:
01/01/2012 - 12/31/2013 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
We have constructed an optimized device for stimulating deep, potentially painful tissue for purposes of improving the ability of physicians to localize that painful tissue. Localizing such tissue will likely improve both the diagnosis of patients pain as well as allow physicians to track those patient's pain management. To stimulate deep tissue we used intense focused ultrasound (iFU) under image guidance, hence an ig-iFU device. We demonstrated the efficacy of our ig-iFU device on amputee patients.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact
Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Legislative Districts:
11, 28, 34, 36, 37, 41, 43, 46, 48

Health Impacts

Pain Detection, Localization