Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with Parkinson’s disease. This technology focuses beams of ultrasonic energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces a variety of therapeutic effects enabling Parkinson’s disease to be treated without surgery.
Focused ultrasound has the potential to achieve symptomatic relief by making thermal lesions deep in the brain to interrupt circuits involved with tremor and dyskinesia. Symptoms and targets being assessed for treatment using focused ultrasound include:
- Parkinsonian tremor – target in the thalamus (thalamotomy)
- Parkinsonian dyskinesia – target in the globus pallidus (pallidotomy) or subthalamic nucleus
- Parkinsonian tremor or akinesia – target in the pallidothalamic tract
Thalamotomy is the precise destruction of a tiny area of the brain called the thalamus that controls some involuntary movements. Before surgery, detailed brain scans using a CT scan or MRI are done to identify the precise location for treatment.