Focused ultrasound technology concentrates intersecting beams of ultrasound energy with extreme precision onto a target deep in the body. Focused ultrasound is approved for treatment of uterine fibroids. Trials are under way to test the use of focused ultrasound for essential tremor.
MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery is a new, non-invasive approach to traditional surgery.
Focused ultrasound is similar to using a magnifying glass to focus multiple beams of light on a single point to start a fire.
MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery concentrates many beams of ultrasound energy to a single spot in the body. These focused ultrasound beams cause heating and ablation (destruction) of the targeted area without damaging surrounding tissue.
The procedure takes place inside of an MRI machine. The MRI allows doctors to precisely guide the system and monitor temperatures.
- Focused ultrasound surgery is approved for treatment of uterine fibroids.
- Clinical trials are in development at UVA to test the device for movement disorders and metastatic brain tumors.
Potential Uses for Focused Ultrasound Surgery:
Clinical Trials for Essential Tremor and Parkinson's
UVA doctor Jeff Elias, MD, conducted the first-ever clinical trial to treat essential tremor with focused ultrasound surgery in 2011.
We are in the early stages of these trials, which will test the safety of the procedure and see if it works as expected. If the research is successful, focused ultrasound may be approved by the FDA in several years. Right now, though, movement disorder patients can only have this surgery as part of a clinical trial.
- The number of patients in these trials is limited (less than 50 patients per trial).
- There is a long wait time for patients being screened for trials.
Sign Up: Pre-Screening Database for Movement Disorders
Use our pre-screening database to let us know you're interested in clinical trials for movement disorders. Signing up is the best way to get your information to us and ensure we can communicate with you.
If you sign up and let us know you're diagnosed with Parkinson's, you'll be automatically placed in a pool of candidates for our current Parkinson's trial. Plans are also under way to test the treatment on more essential tremor patients, so sign up if you're interested.
Find out more about participation guidelines, risks and more.
Options for Treatment
Learn more about functional neurosurgery treatment at UVA.