U.K. group performs MRgFUS for essential tremor

Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust has performed its first focused ultrasound treatments in the U.K. for essential tremor using the Exablate Neuro system from MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) developer InSightec.

Essential tremor is a movement disorder that affects approximately 1 million people in the U.K., with the most common symptom being hand tremor. Tremors can also affect the head, arms, voice, legs, and torso.

A medical team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is performing noninvasive MRgFUS thalamic lesioning for essential tremor using Exablate Neuro as part of a trial. The treatment begins with the use of low-energy ultrasound waves under MRI guidance to identify the part of the thalamus and subthalamic region thought to be responsible for causing tremors. Once it's located, high-intensity ultrasound waves are applied to heat and destroy only the target tissue while the patient is fully conscious and lying on the treatment bed in an MRI scanner.

The result for certain patients is an immediate and significant reduction of their tremor with a minimal risk of infection, and patients usually return home the same day, the firm said.

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