MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS)

Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive and incision-free therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders, by using ultrasonic energy to target tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation.

Focused ultrasound is the pairing of two innovative technologies:

  • Focused ultrasound—which provides the energy to treat tissue deep in the body precisely and noninvasively
  • Magnetic resonance or ultrasound imaging—which is used to identify and target the tissue to be treated, guide and control the treatment in real time, and confirm the effectiveness of the treatment.

Watch this video on our new approach to treat essential tremor using MRgFUS

With focused ultrasound, an acoustic lens is used to concentrate multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound on a target deep in the body with extreme precision and accuracy. Depending on the design of the lens and the ultrasound parameters, the target can be as small as 1x1.5mm or as large as 10x16mm in diameter.

The fundamental principle is equivalent to using a magnifying glass to focus beams of sunlight on a single point to burn a hole in a leaf. Where each of the individual beams passes through the tissue, there is no effect. But, at the focal point, the convergence of the multiple beams of focused ultrasound energy results in many important biological effects, creating the possibility of treating a variety of medical disorders.

If you are interested in focused ultrasound for essential tremor, it is important to note:

  • Insurance plans are beginning to cover this procedure. Please call our Focused Ultrasound Program Administrative Coordinator at 617-732-6858 for more details.
  • Not everyone with essential tremor is eligible for focused ultrasound; eligibility requires evaluation by a neurologist and a neurosurgeon.

Read more about the FDA’s approval of focused ultrasound for essential tremor.

What You Should Expect

Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your surgeon discovers an underlying illness or concern, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician specialist for an expert evaluation.

Multidisciplinary Care

Our surgeons, as part of work with a multidisciplinary team of physician specialists to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient in order to provide the best possible treatment. The multidisciplinary team includes specialists in neurosurgery, neuro-radiology, neuro-physiology and neurology.

Research/ Clinical Trials 

The Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a pioneer in neuroscience and is dedicated to the research of neurological disorders, click here to learn more about our current clinical trials.

Appointments and Locations

We currently only offer this service at our main campus, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115. Click here for directions.

Focused Ultrasound in the News

Digger Dialogue: Surgery gives Sen. Anthony Pollina new lease on life
VT Digger | January, 2017

FOCUSED ULTRASOUND RECOGNIZED AS A TOP EMERGING TECHNOLOGY WITH POTENTIAL TO REVOLUTIONIZE NEUROLOGIC CARE
Focused Ultrasound Foundation | May, 2016

FOCUSED BRAIN ULTRASOUND OFFERS SOME HELP FOR ESSENTIAL TREMOR  
STAT News | August 24, 2016

MRI-guided focused ultrasound effective to treat essential tremor
Science Daily | August 24, 2016

A Randomized Trial of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor
The New England Journal of Medicine| August 25, 2016

Published study confirms safety and efficacy of INSIGHTEC's Exablate Neuro system for the treatment of essential tremor 
HealthCareNews| August 30, 2016   

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