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 dystonia. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling dystonia to be treated without surgery. While there are several potential treatment targets, the ventrooralis (Vo nucleus of the thalamus) has been the target of initial studies treating musician’s or writer’s dystonia.
The primary options for treatment of dystonia include medications and invasive surgery. However, medications work temporarily, whereas focused ultrasound will offer a more durable treatment that may be permanent.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. If needed, focused ultrasound can also be repeated.
A clinical trial in Japan has begun treating patients with cervical dystonia, which has a disease of the muscles of the neck resulting in torticollis (twisting of the neck). For more information on being a part of this study, the principal investigator has shared his email address: Shiro Horisawa, MD 堀澤士朗 .
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for dystonia is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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