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 hydrocephalus. 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) that creates one or more openings. These openings allow the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that is contained in the cavity to pass through the holes, resulting the CSF to circulate and be reabsorbed by the arachnoid villi. While early results are promising, there is still much to be done before this technology will be available clinically.
The primary options for treatment of hydrocephalus includes invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery. It is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection. Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused treatment of hydrocephalus.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for hydrocephalus is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Yang AI, Chaibainou H, Wang S, Hitti FL, McShane BJ, Tilden D, Korn M, Blanke A, Dayan M, Wolf RL, Baltuch GH. Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor in the Setting of a Ventricular Shunt: Technical Report. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2019 Oct 1;17(4):376-381. doi: 10.1093/ons/opz013.
Alkins R, Huang Y, Pajek D, Hynynen K. Cavitation-based third ventriculostomy using MRI-guided focused ultrasound. J Neurosurg. 2013 Dec;119(6):1520-9
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