Who can benefit from MRI-guided FUS?
This treatment is suitable for people suffering from hand tremors that significantly impair quality of life and function, and which are not well controlled by medications—specifically those suffering from Parkinson's disease or Essential Tremor. Currently, the treatment performed at Rambam is for one hand only.
Candidates for MRI-guided FUS must be capable of undergoing an MRI scan.
Contraindications: Patients who take anticoagulants or antiaggregants that cannot be stopped for two weeks, or who suffer from a brain tumor are not candidates for this treatment. The treatment is for relieving the tremor only and not for other symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease or Essential Tremor.
What Does a Treatment Look Like?
A special frame is attached to the patient’s head, to ensure no movement during the treatment. A helmet that emits the ultrasound waves is placed over the top of this frame, covering the patient’s head. The patient is then asked to lay down in a magnetic scanner (MRI) that allows the doctor to examine the structure of the brain and define the focus of treatment.
After determining the target, the treatment begins. Ultrasound waves are directed at the target (in the brain) at increasingly higher temperatures, while the patient is constantly monitored and adjusted so as to relieve/stop the tremor. Throughout the treatment, the patient is monitored to prevent any side-effects.
What Happens after Treatment?
With all patients, there is a significant decrease of tremor immediately after the treatment. The patient remains under observation for 24 hours, during which time an initial functional test and an additional MRI scan are performed.
Over time, the effect of the treatment is maintained. It has been found that the treatment is still effective in patients examined after one year. All patients have reported a significant improvement in their quality of life.
These findings have been reported in the world's leading medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine (Elias WJ et al. N Engl J Med 2013;369(7):640–8).