Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), which are also called “cavernomas”. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling CCMs to be treated without surgery.
The primary options for treatment of CCMs include surgery or observation.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- For deep brain CCMs, surgery is likely to result in neural injury due to the retraction required to access the CCM.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of CCMs.
A study at University of Virginia will treat animal models for CCMs in a project entitled “Focused ultrasound for treatment of deep-seated cerebral cavernous malformations.”
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for CCM treatment is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Pruitt R, Gamble A, Black K, Schulder M, Mehta AD. Complication avoidance in laser interstitial thermal therapy: lessons learned. J Neurosurg. 2017 Apr;126(4):1238-1245. doi: 10.3171/2016.3.JNS152147. Epub 2016 Jun 3.
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