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 trigeminal neuralgia. 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 trigeminal neuralgia to be treated without surgery.
The primary options for treatment of trigeminal neuropathy include medication or invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with reduced risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound 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.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
A current clinical trial at the University of Virginia is looking to treat patients with refractory chronic trigeminal neuropathic pain. Please note this study does not include treating trigeminal neuralgia.
See a full list of trigeminal neuralgia clinical trials.
See a list of treatment sites >
See a list of laboratory research sites >
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment in the US has not been approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies. In Europe, trigeminal neuralgia has been treated under the neuropathic pain CE Mark.
Dallapiazza RF, Timbie KF, Holmberg S, Gatesman J, Lopes MB, Price RJ, Miller GW, Elias WJ. Noninvasive neuromodulation and thalamic mapping with low-intensity focused ultrasound. J Neurosurg. 2018 Mar;128(3):875-884. doi: 10.3171/2016.11.JNS16976. Epub 2017 Apr 21.
Monteith SJ, Medel R, Kassell NF, Wintermark M, Eames M, Snell J, Zadicario E, Grinfeld J, Sheehand JP, Elias WJ. Transcranial magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a cadaveric and laboratory feasibility study. J Neurosurg. 2013;118(2):319-28.
Pirrotta R1, Jeanmonod D, McAleese S, Aufenberg C, Opwis K, Jenewein J, Martin-Soelch C. Cognitive Functioning, Emotional Processing, Mood, and Personality Variables Before and After Stereotactic Surgery: A Study of 8 Cases With Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Neurosurgery. 2013 Jul;73(1):121-8. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000429845.06955.70.
Daniel Jeanmonod, Beat Werner, Anne Morel, Lars Michels, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, Ernst Martin. Transcranial magnetic resonance imaging–guided focusedultrasound: noninvasive central lateral thalamotomy forchronic neuropathic pain. Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Jan;32(1):E1. doi: 10.3171/2011.10.FOCUS11248.
Michels L, Moazami-Goudarzi M, Jeanmonod D. Correlations between EEG and clinical outcome in chronic neuropathic pain: surgical effects and treatment resistance. Brain Imaging Behav. 2011 Dec;5(4):329-48. doi: 10.1007/s11682-011-9135-2.
Click here for additional references from PubMed.