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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Focused Ultrasound Surgery For Parkinson’s

Three Advantages Of Mrgfus For Pd Tremor

Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Parkinsons Disease, Brians Story

MRgFUS is a noninvasive outpatient procedure. No scalpel is needed to cut skin, no drill is needed to bore a hole in the skull, and nothing is implanted in the brain. Its three main advantages for PD-related tremor are:

  • No infection risk associated with surgical thalamotomy or surgical implants
  • Test sonications to confirm precise targeting prior to full ablation
  • When successful, the results are immediately evident.
  • A few words of caution: MRgFUS is not effective in every case. As with MRgFUS for ET, treatment will be directed to the hand in which tremor is worse, since treating both hands increases the risk of side effects. Clinical studies show that some patients have short term side effect such as headaches, dizziness or nausea but these quickly resolve. However, the effect may not be durable. Patients who have suffered with significant tremor for years may experience less effective tremor control, or gradual recurrence of tremor. Finally, MRgFUS does not cure PD, nor will it have an effect on other PD-related problems.

    However, the consensus among researchers is that MRgFUS is a very promising treatment for PD-related tremor, especially as an alternative to invasive surgical procedures. If you or a loved one suffers from severe PD tremors, contact the Sperling Medical Group for more information about MRgFUS.


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    Rapid Reversal Of Symptoms

    Focused ultrasound is a completely incisionless procedure, performed without the need for anesthesia or an in-patient stay in the hospital. Patients, who are fully alert, lie in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner, wearing a specialized energy conversion helmet for the procedure. Ultrasonic energy is targeted through the skull to the globus pallidus, a structure deep in the brain that helps regulate voluntary movement. MRI images provide doctors with a real-time temperature map of the area under treatment.

    Often before the procedure is even completed, patients experience relief from severe symptoms such as tremors, rigidity in the legs and arms, and side effects from medications that cause involuntary, erratic movements called “dyskinesia.”

    About one million Americans have Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects brain cells or neurons in a specific area of the brain that produce the brain chemical dopamine. Other current treatments for Parkinson’s include medications and deep brain stimulation from surgically implanted electrodes.

    Continuous Subcutaneous Apomorphine Infusion

    Apomorphine is a dopamine agonist with a mixed affinity for D1 and D2 receptors and an affinity for serotonergic and alpha-adrenergic receptors . While the motor efficacy of apomorphine is similar to that of levodopa, apomorphine cannot be administered orally due to its low oral bioavailability . Subcutaneous infusions have a similar pharmacokinetic profile to the intravenous route. Compared with intermittent subcutaneous injections, CSAI has a longer apparent plasma half-life and simulates the physiological stimulation of striatal neurons .

    Clinical outcomes of CSAI

    In the OPTIPUMP cohort study, the efficacy and safety of CSAI were assessed. The total UPDRS score showed significant improvement in all patients at 6 months. UPDRS-III decreased in the on-medication state by 16.3% . In the first prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of apomorphine subcutaneous infusion in PD patients, a daily off time reduction of 1.89h from a baseline of 6.69h was seen in treated patients, while there was an increase of 1.97h in on time without TSD from a baseline of 8.52h . In a retrospective study, 230 patients were treated with CSAI over 10 years. In this cohort, the daily off hours were reduced from 5.4 to 1.2h .

    Safety of CSAI

    Patient considerations for CSAI

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    What To Expect From Focused Ultrasound Treatment

    Before your focused ultrasound treatment:

    • Meet with Dr. Ahmed Raslan, neurosurgeon, to discuss the benefits and risks of focused ultrasound. We will also evaluate your condition to make sure focused ultrasound is the right treatment for you.
    • You will need an MRI before treatment. If you already had an MRI with your neurologist, you may not need another one with us.

    On treatment day:

    • When you arrive for treatment, we will completely shave your head. This makes sure that nothing will block the ultrasound waves.
    • You lay on a table that can slide in and out of an MRI machine during the procedure.
    • We use numbing medicine at four different points on your scalp, then use pins to attach a frame. This frame will make sure your head is completely still during the procedure.
    • We fit your head into a water-filled helmet that has more than 1000 ultrasound transmitters.
    • We will find a baseline by asking you to draw a spiral or touch your nose.
    • We can view your brain and control the ultrasound waves from a computer.
    • We start with a test lesion. This is a temporary change to confirm that we are in the right place in your brain.
    • This outpatient procedure takes up to three hours. You will be able to go home that day or the next day.
    • You may experience brain swelling in the area for up to a week. This could cause temporary numbness, imbalance, or other neurological issues.
    • Improvement to your tremor symptoms is immediate during the procedure.

    What Is Parkinsons Disease

    TGH Offers Focused Ultrasound for Patients with Tremors and Parkinsons ...

    Parkinsons disease is a degenerative neurologic disease that affects about 1% of people over age 60. While it is more common in the elderly, 10% of the patients are affected before the age of 40 years.

    Parkinsons disease is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.Resting tremor in one or more limbs is the most obvious symptom associated with Parkinsons, and often is the first symptom that is noticed. Parkinsons patients may exhibit many additional symptoms besides tremors, such as problems with walking, rigidity of limbs and slowed movements.

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    Fda Approves Focused Ultrasound For Common Parkinsons Symptoms

    UVA is one of only 37 medical centers in the country with the capacity to offer an incisionless form of brain surgery to treat advanced Parkinsons disease.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an incisionless form of brain surgery to treat advanced Parkinsons disease after successful testing at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and other sites.

    The authorization allows the use of Insightecs Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound device to treat problems with mobility, rigidity and involuntary movements, known as dyskinesias, that are common in Parkinsons. UVA is one of only 37 medical centers in the country with the capacity to offer this minimally invasive treatment, according to the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Foundation, a longtime supporter of UVAs pioneering research into the many potential applications of the technology.

    Prior to the approval, available treatments for the Parkinsons symptoms included drugs, which not all patients respond to, and invasive deep-brain surgeries.

    Dr. Jeff Elias is a pioneer in the field of focused ultrasound who led UVAs testing of the technology for treating Parkinsons.

    How Are Parkinsons Disease And Essential Tremor Treated

    Medication is the first choice for Parkinsons treatment, but Parkinsons patients dont respond well to drugs or have side effects. In Essential tremor, the response rate to medications is less than Parkinsons disease and up to 30% may not tolerate medications or may have an unsatisfactory response. In these cases, surgical treatment may be considered.Before the arrival of FUS, surgical options for Parkinsons treatment included thalamotomy and deep brain stimulation .Both these options are considered minimally invasive although they involve incisions, use of drills to open a small hole in the skull and the insertion of one or more electrodes into the brain. In the case of DBS, the hardware is implanted into the brain and a pacemaker similar to a heart pacemaker is implanted into the chest wall.

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    +how Do I Request An Initial Consultation

    If you are suffering from Essential Tremor, Parkinsons disease or another type of tremor or movement disorder and would like to know whether you might be suitable for treatment with focused ultrasound, please request a consultation and our clinical care coordinator will contact you:

    Alternatively, please email your referral or enquiry to

    Our assessment process includes:

    • Confirmation of your diagnosis and its impact on your quality of life.
    • Other relevant medical condition and medications you are on.
    • Brain scanning with MRI and CT

    Our clinical assessment team includes a movement disorder neurologist and neurosurgeon.

    Our clinical care coordinator will coordinate all aspects of your assessment from the time we receive your referral. If you have any questions, please contact us.

    Precision can offer short wait times for MRgFUS. We can see you within four weeks for a consultation and, if suitable, administer your treatment within three months of you contacting us.

    Clinical Outcomes And Adverse Events Of Mrgfus

    MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound for Treatment of Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor

    Ventral intermediate

    In a study by Bond et al., 20 patients were randomized to focus ultrasound unilateral VIM thalamotomy versus 7 patients to the sham procedure for patients with medically refractory tremor-dominant PD. Hand tremor, as measured with the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor A+B subscores in the on-medication state, improved by 62% at 3 months. Total CRST scores improved by 44% at 3 months. The most common procedure-related AEs for all patients were finger and orofacial paresthesia. Two patients had persistent hemiparesis, and one patient had persistent mild ataxia .

    Globus pallidus internus

    A multicenter open-label trial investigated the efficacy and safety of MRgFUS ablation of the GPi for PD patients exhibiting levodopa responsiveness, motor fluctuations, and asymmetrical motor signs. There was a 44.5% improvement in the off-medication UPDRS-III score from baseline value at 3 months and a 45.2% improvement at 12 months. The UPDRS-IV score was used to assess the motor complications of PD. The baseline pretreatment value was reduced by 42% at 3 months, and this improvement was maintained at 12 months. Twenty persistent AEs were reported, including fine motor difficulties, dysarthria, and balance difficulties .

    Subthalamic nucleus

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    +what Are The Benefits Of Focused Ultrasound

    • It is non-invasive, with generally lower major risks than open surgery and a shorter recovery time
    • It is carried out as a single treatment. Patients typically recover rapidly and quickly return to their usual daily activities
    • Focused ultrasound frequently offers rapid improvement of symptoms. Other technologies such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery have a significant delay before clinical improvement is seen, and deep brain stimulation requires regular programming of the electrical device, and either frequent recharging or further surgery to replace the battery when it expires
    • In contrast to stereotactic radiosurgery lesioning, focused ultrasound does not use radiation, thereby avoiding the side effects of radiotherapy.
    • No anaesthetic is required, therefore patient with significant medical comorbidity are eligible for this treatment

    Join The Parkinsons Forums: An Online Community For People With Parkinsons Disease And Their Caregivers

    With the new technology, clinicians direct ultrasound waves to a brain structure called the globus pallidus, which helps regulate voluntary movement, to destroy damaged tissue, decreasing the uncontrolled movements that characterize Parkinsons disease.

    Doctors use magnetic resonance imaging to create a temperature map of the brain, giving them a real-time picture of the region they want to hit with the sound waves. They then raise the energy, directly targeting that area of the brain to destroy the tissue.

    Patients are awake and alert the entire time in the MRI scanner, enabling them to give clinicians constant feedback. They are fitted with a helmet through which the energy is converted into sound waves, which are then targeted to the globus pallidus. The approach is noninvasive, meaning there is no surgery or radiation treatment involved.

    Current therapies to lessen movement and coordination problems in Parkinsons patients include levodopa , which is the most common. Patients with advanced Parkinsons may undergo surgery, known as deep brain stimulation, to implant micro-electrodes in the brain that help control tremors, rigidity and dyskinesia .

    For people with Parkinsons disease and other movement disorders such as essential tremor, focused ultrasound is an appealing alternative to deep brain stimulation because it does not involve more invasive surgery, said Paul S. Fishman, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at UMSOM and a neurologist at UMMC.

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    Tremor Control Through Neurosurgery

    Essential tremor is a movement disorder that most commonly affects the hands, head and voice. Since our hands are involved in practically every personal, professional and recreational task, the shakes create disabilities that range from annoying or frustrating to severely impairing. While medication is the first line of treatment, it is ineffective for about 50% of people among those who find it effective, a large number have to increase doses over time until eventually medication no longer works. When tremors resist drug treatment, it is called refractory ET.

    Those who develop refractory ET are usually encouraged to consider a neurosurgery to control tremors. Such procedures intervene in the brains thalamus, a center that forwards abnormal tremor signals out to the body. There are two types of procedures:

  • Deep brain stimulation uses implanted electrodes to stimulate the thalamus. They are connected by wires in the neck to a battery pack surgically placed in the chest.
  • Thalamotomy ablates the part of the thalamus that forwards signals to the hands. It used to be done by inserting image-guided probes into the brain, but now FUS is quickly replacing physical probe insertion with precise, noninvasive image-guided sonic energy to accomplish the destruction. In most cases, only the dominant hand is treated since destroying both sides at once increases the chance of side effects.
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    New Review Offers Largest Long

    Surgical Treatment of Parkinson Disease
    University of Virginia Health System
    A scalpel-free, high-tech form of brain surgery offers long-term relief for patients with essential tremor, a common movement disorder, a five-year review shows.

    A scalpel-free, high-tech form of brain surgery pioneered at UVA Health offers long-term relief for patients with essential tremor, a common movement disorder, a five-year review shows.

    The study offers important insights into the durability of the benefits of focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor. Five years after treatment, clinical trial participants continued to their treated tremors reduced by more than 70%, the researchers report. There were no progressive or delayed complications.

    “It is exciting to see such durable results after an outpatient procedure for a sometimes disabling problem like ET,” said researcher Jeff Elias, MD, a UVA Health neurosurgeon who served as the study’s Principle Investigator. “It is important to note that most of the patients had very long-lasting benefits, but there are some cases where tremor can recur.”

    Focused Ultrasound for Essential Tremor

    Initial tests of the procedure at UVA and a small number of other sites often produced dramatic results: Study participants would enter an MRI with their hand shaking uncontrollably and emerge with their ability to write or feed themselves restored.

    Story Source:

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    Riverside Health System Now Offering Cutting

    Riverside Health System is excited to announce that MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound is being used by Riverside neurosurgeons at Riverside Regional Medical Center for the treatment of medication-refractory essential tremors and tremor-dominant Parkinsons disease.

    The procedure uses sound waves to precisely ablate deep brain targets that cause tremors with no surgical incisions. The treatment is performed in a single session under Magnetic Resonance Imaging guidance for high resolution visualization of the patients anatomy for precise targeting, real-time temperature monitoring and immediate confirmation of treatment outcomes. The result for many patients is immediate improvement of tremors with minimal complications.

    We are excited to be among the first medical centers in the area to offer this innovative procedure and transform the lives of those living with tremors, said Dr. Jackson Salvant, a Neurosurgeon with Riverside Hampton Roads Neurosurgical and Spine Specialists. This technology provides our patients with an opportunity to drastically reduce their tremor with little to no side effects.

    This new technology works with an existing, compatible MRI unit at Riverside Regional Medical Center . Riverside neurosurgeons performed the first Focused Ultrasound treatment at RRMC on Monday, September 19, 2022.

    Riverside COVID-19 Assessment Tool

    Want More Practical Articles Like This

    You can find much more inourEvery Victory Counts®manual, packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinsons. Request your free copy here.

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    What Happens During Mri

    Before your procedure you will have an MRI, which your care team will use to pinpoint the area of your brain to be treated.

    During the treatment, you will lie in an MRI scanner with your head fitted into a water-filled helmet. The helmet circulates cool water around your head to prevent overheating during the ultrasound. The energy is first applied at a low level and your doctor will ask you to provide feedback on the effect it has on your hand tremor.

    You will be engaged throughout the process and may be asked to report the sensations you feel and to perform tasks such as writing or tracing lines to monitor improvement of your tremor. Your doctor will then adjust the focused ultrasound treatment in response to your input, increasing the energy level to perform the amount of ablation needed.

    The focused ultrasound energy waves pass through the helmet to meet at the identified point in your brain. The energy makes a small lesion in the brain, targeting the tissue where the tremors originate.

    After treatment, youll be moved to a recovery room for monitoring. Most patients go home the same day. Many return to work and other activities within a couple of days. You will receive specific discharge instructions from your doctor.

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