Novant Health today announced it is the first in the Carolinas to offer a scalpel-free treatment for essential tremor and medication-refractory tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease. The new option – called MR-guided focused ultrasound – uses sound wave energy to treat brain tissue that is the source of the tremor. No surgical incision or anesthesia is necessary, and many patients experience immediate and significant reduction in hand tremors, which can make daily activities challenging.
Novant Health has partnered with INSIGHTEC, a global medical technology innovator to bring this breakthrough technology to Charlotte. It will be the only hospital system between central Virginia and Florida to offer this new incisionless treatment of tremor.
“With MR-guided focused ultrasound, we are able to perform a procedure on the brain – without a scalpel or making a single incision,” said Dr. Eric Deshaies, neurosurgeon and system physician executive of the Novant Health Neuroscience & Psychiatry Institute. “We are proud to be the only hospital system in this region to offer this innovative solution to treat tremors.”
MR-guided focused ultrasound combines two technologies: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which pinpoints the exact location in the brain responsible for the tremor, and ultrasound, which precisely delivers over 1,000 highly focused beams of acoustic energy at that exact location without damaging any surrounding brain tissue.
Benefits of MR-guided focused ultrasound include:
Beginning in September, this new technology will be offered at Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center, a community hospital in Charlotte. It will be led by a team of expert neurologists and neurosurgeons, including the head of functional and restorative neurosurgery for Novant Health, Dr. Charles Munyon.
“Our team is very excited to bring this technology to the region and to open up access to potentially life-changing treatment that until now has required long wait times and significant travel for patients in the Carolinas,” said Munyon. “Many tremor patients have suffered for years or even decades with this debilitating and progressive condition and helping them regain the ability to dress and feed themselves, or just live a more active and independent lifestyle, is extremely rewarding.”
About essential tremor
Essential tremor may start as relatively mild, but often progresses to be severe, impacting quality of life. The tremors, which are often most severe in the hands, can interfere with daily activities like getting dressed, eating, drinking and writing. Most people with essential tremor are otherwise healthy.
About tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease
For an estimated 10% of Parkinson’s patients, tremor is the primary symptom with the most severe impact on daily activities. As the disease progresses, patients may experience the onset of other symptoms, but the tremor remains the one with the most severe impact on daily activities.
Traditionally, doctors have treated people with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors with medications or by surgically attaching a small electrode in the brain connected to a pulse generator implanted in the chest. MR-guided focused ultrasound provides an incisionless treatment option for individuals who do not respond to medications.
“This technology makes Novant Health and Charlotte a regional, and even national, referral site for essential tremor and tremor dominant Parkinson’s disease,” said Saad Ehtisham, president of the Novant Health greater Charlotte market. “Because there are no surgical incisions to check after this procedure, in-person appointments are not necessary, making this treatment option ideal for patients who have to travel to Charlotte for this procedure. This is an exciting milestone for patients and for Novant Health.”
For more information about MR-guided focused ultrasound, contact [email protected] or call 1-800-892-0696.