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 chronic migraine headaches. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasonic energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound can produce precise biological effects; when directed to the occipital nerves it has the potential to treat chronic migraines noninvasively, as demonstrated in a preclinical study.
The primary options for treatment of migraines include medication, many of which have side effects or are only partly effective.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative which may be more effective and have less risk of side effects.
- Focused ultrasound does not have the side effects associated with some of the migraine therapy medications
- 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 treatment of migraine headaches.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for migraine headaches is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Walling I, Panse D, Gee L, Maietta T, Kaszuba B, Kumar V, Gannon S, Hellman A, Neubauer P, Frith L, Williams E, Ghoshal G, Shin DS, Burdette C, Qian J, Pilitsis JG. The use of focused ultrasound for the treatment of cutaneous allodynia associated with chronic migraine. Brain Res. 2018 Aug 2. pii: S0006-8993(18)30416-5. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.08.004.
Walling IT, Gee L, Neubauer P, Frith L, Williams E, Burdette C, Pilitsis JG. Pulse Modulation of the Occipital Nerve Using Focused High-Intensity Ultrasound Improves Mechanical Thresholds in a Chronic Migraine Rat Model. Neurosurgery. 2016 Aug;63 Suppl 1:150-1. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000489692.13840.05.
Rodrigo D, Acin P, Bermejo P. Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Refractory Chronic Migraine: Results of a Long-Term Prospective Study. Pain Physician. 2017 Jan-Feb;20(1):E151-E159.
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