While MR-guided focused ultrasound ablation was dramatized on Grey’s Anatomy, the technology is real and being used to treat patients with essential tremor that has not responded to medication.
INSIGHTEC’s FDA-approved device uses focused ultrasound guided by MR imaging to treat essential tremor patients – without having to go under the scalpel. This incisionless treatment is being performed on a routine basis at 11 leading medical centers across the USA.
How Does It Work?
First, an MRI scanner provides images of the brain, allowing the neurosurgeon to plan the treatment. The patient lies down on the treatment table with his or her head in a special helmet that focuses 1,024 ultrasound waves to the spot that is responsible for the tremor. The ultrasound waves pass safely through the skull – elevating the temperature at the targeted area, smaller than the size of a pea. This process is repeated several times and after each time, testing is done to evaluate the patient’s safety and tremor improvement. MR imaging provides real-time feedback of the temperature change to monitor and control the treatment. The resulting ablation, or small burn, has been shown to result in tremor improvement in the treated hand with minimal side effects for many patients.
FDA labeling: Exablate Neuro is intended for use in the unilateral thalamotomy treatment of idiopathic Essential Tremor patients age 22 or older with medication-refractory tremor.
Click here for the FDA approval and important warnings.