New procedure being tested across the country to stop hand tremors

COLUMBUS, Ga. – We told you last week of a procedure that stops the uncontrollable hand shaking associated with a condition known as essential tremors.  Ralph Mitchell of Columbus tried the Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy and now he’s able to write his name again and hold a cup of coffee with stability.

There’s another procedure to treat this condition and it’s under clinical trial. It’s called MR guided focused ultrasound. To steady the patient’s hand, doctors use ultrasound waves to make a tiny lesion in the brain and short circuit the area causing the tremors.

“This is brain surgery without cutting the skin. So, non-invasively, the ultrasound waves are delivered and converge into part of the brain that’s malfunctioning, causing the tremor.” said Dr. Ali Rezai, a neurosurgeon at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

The technology was developed in Israel.  Also known as high intensity focused ultrasound or hifu , more than a thousand ultrasound rays converge in the brain, gradually heat up to 150-degrees and precisely burn certain cells. The effect is immediate, and lasting.

The technology is being tested at 6 hospitals.

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