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 traumatic brain injury. 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 several therapeutic effects that are being evaluated. One clinical mechanism involves neuromodulation, that is aimed a stimulation of desired neural activity. A preclinical mechanism is the temporary opening of the blood brain barrier, which can facilitate the entry of stem cell, where they can multiply and differentiate. While some progress has been made, much work remains before these approaches could be widely available.
The primary options for treatment of traumatic brain injury include initial stabilization measures, followed by specific treatment of the injuries involved. These may include medication and surgery.
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. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary.
A clinical trial in Los Angeles is looking to use thalamic low intensity focused ultrasound in acute brain injured patients.
A clinical trial in Korea is using low-intensity focused ultrasound to treat patients with prolonged loss of consciousness after traumatic brain injury.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for traumatic brain injury is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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