Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with neuropathic pain. 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 produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling neuropathic pain to be treated without surgery. While there are several potential treatment targets, the central lateral thalamus has been the target of initial studies.
The primary options for treatment of neuropathic pain include medication and invasive surgery (e.g. deep brain stimulation, radiofrequency lesioning).
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a non-invasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is non-invasive – no incisions, holes in the skull, electrodes in the brain – and therefore has reduced risk for infection and blood clots.
- Precise targeting minimizes damage to non-targeted healthy brain.
- Compared to deep brain stimulation, focused ultrasound is a single procedure, and does not require subsequent procedures/visits to replace batteries, repair broken wires, or adjust simulator settings. It also does not involve the collateral damage to healthy tissue or the risk of infections associated with implanting a foreign body.
University of Virginia
A clinical trial for treatment refractory, chronic trigeminal neuropathic pain. Please note that this study does not include trigeminal neuralgia.
There is also a clinical trial at UVA is treating patients with severe opioid resistant pain from head or neck cancer with focused ultrasound.
Another clinical trial at UVA is treating controls and patients with chronic pain with neuromodulation from focused ultrasound and other devices.
University of Maryland.
This study targets the central lateral thalamus for treatment of patients with neuropathic pain.
Focused ultrasound is used to ablate painful neuromas (visualized on MRI) that are causing amputee stump pain, and the impact on the patient’s level of pain is assessed.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Regulatory approvals in Europe, Korea, Middle East and Russia for the treatment of neuropathic pain have been achieved.
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Click here for additional references from PubMed.
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