Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with ataxia. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces thermal ablation that destroys the targeted tissue causing ataxia. This has been accomplished in a single case, but more work needs to be done before this is widely available.
The conventional treatment for ataxia is supportive, with physical therapy and occupational therapy being the main items.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a more effective alternative to patients with this disease.
- Focused ultrasound is non-invasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of ataxia.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for ataxia is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Purrer V, Upadhyay N, Pieper CC, Klockgether T, Boecker H, Wüllner U, Borger V. Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 12. Mov Disord. 2022 Apr;37(4):872-873. doi: 10.1002/mds.28918. Epub 2022 Jan 20. PMID: 35050531
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