The Sperling Medical Group is the first U.S. center to have treated two essential tremor (ET) patients on the same day using MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). What was truly remarkable was the immediate improvement experienced by each of the patients. In one case, the patient was evaluated with 70% improvement immediately following the noninvasive treatment. In the other case, the 66-year old patient said afterward, “I think the experience was wonderful, it was life changing for me, I have a 95% improvement in my hand.”
ET is a non-life threatening but progressive condition. For those who suffer the disabling and embarrassing effects of severe ET, the MRgFUS procedure is a true therapeutic breakthrough. The Sperling Medical Group uses a combined MRI/Focused Ultrasound system called Neuravive™ (see video at our Essential Tremor webpage) to destroy the small area within the brain that is the source of the tremor. Unlike other surgical approaches to accomplish the same goal (i.e. Deep Brain Stimulation or DBS, and radiofrequency thalamotomy) there is no need to expose the skull and create an opening for insertion into the brain.
Instead, Neuravive uses soundwaves, or sonic energy, beamed from many different directions into the targeted area that has been identified by MRI scans. Although the individual soundwaves pass harmlessly through the healthy areas of the brain, when they intersect at the target they create enough heat to ablate, or destroy, the tiny part that is malfunctioning. The treatment offers immediate results as the tremor begins to visibly lessen – in some cases, almost completely disappearing.
The Sperling Medical Group is fortunate to have Dr. Travis Tierney as Director of Neurosurgery. Dr. Tierney is the leading developer and pioneer in the use of MRgFUS for the brain. He has been a Principal Investigator at the Harvard site of a multi-institution clinical trial of MRgFUS to treat ET. Now he and Dr. Dan Sperling work together at the Sperling Medical Group to provide the highest clinical standards of compassionate care to all patients seeking essential tremor treatment. The above-mentioned patient was enthusiastic about her care during the outpatient procedure, and how well everything was explained to her throughout the procedure. She noted, “I have worked in the medical field for 25 years and have never met a neurosurgeon and his staff who were so warm and dedicated to the patient.” Dr. Tierney himself stated that the “routine nature of the procedure, and the ease of flow within our practice” make it feasible to treat more than one patient during a clinical day.
The Sperling Medical Group is proud to be the only center in the Southeast offering MRgFUS for the treatment of ET. Contact the Sperling Medical Group for more information.