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What is focused ultrasound ablation?

Focused ultrasound (FUS) is an incision-less treatment for patients with movement disorders. Like deep brain stimulation, FUS can be an effective treatment option for patients who either don’t respond to medication or initially respond to medication that eventually becomes ineffective. FUS is an outpatient procedure, and many patients walk away from the procedure tremor-free.

Guided by real-time MR imaging, FUS can achieve precise and targeted ablation in the brain. Patients are awake and participate in testing during FUS treatment. A functional neurosurgeon first delivers ultrasound at low power to test whether ablation of the targeted area is safe. Once the safety is established, the target area is ablated for sustained improvement in patient symptoms.

UNC Health is the only hospital in the country to offer an interdisciplinary clinic for focused ultrasound patients.

Who is eligible for focused ultrasound? 

Patients who have been diagnosed with movement disorders, such as essential tremor, or who do not receive acceptable tremor relief from medications such as primidone and propanolol may be a candidate and should be seen for a FUS consultation.

Patients who receive FUS treatment must be able to fit into an MRI and have no metallic implants. During a consultation, our physicians evaluate a patient’s health history to determine if any underlying health conditions exclude a patient from being a candidate.

You can learn more about focused ultrasound and Dr. Vibhor Krishna’s research on the Krishna Lab website.

To schedule a focused ultrasound consultation, please call 984-215-5009 to schedule.

Questions? Email

Focused Ultrasound Resources:

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To learn more about ongoing focused ultrasound research at UNC Health, please visit the Krishna Lab website.