The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has performed the first focused ultrasound treatments in the UK to treat essential tremor using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro as part of a trial.
Insightec has developed Exablate Neuro, a focused ultrasound device to treat patients diagnosed with essential tremor.
Exablate Neuro is a non-invasive, image-guided personalised thalamotomy that is treated through an intact skull without requiring ionising radiation, incisions or implants.
The procedure involves focusing high-intensity ultrasound waves in the vim nucleus of the thalamus, the tiny part of the brain responsible for causing tremors.
The Exablate Neuro ultrasound transducer consists of 1024 beams that produce heat to ablate the targeted tissue during treatment resulting to reduction of tremor for patients.
The whole procedure is conducted in full consciousness of the patient while lying on the treatment bed in an MRI scanner.
Performing the treatment consultant neurosurgeon Dipankar Nandi said: “I have been performing DBS operations for over 15 years.
“This breakthrough allows us now to operate on these patients without the significant risks that inserting an electrode 15cm deep into the brain entails.
“We are at the cusp of widening the applications of this innovative technology to help a wide variety of patients, some of whom had no therapeutic option before.”
The Imperial College has conducted the procedure as a part of a trial at the Trust which has secured a £1m grant from the Imperial College Healthcare Charity to purchase special equipment delivering ultrasound.
The trial is currently treating 20 suitable patients with essential tremor (ET).
Image: Patient undergoes treatment with Exablate Neuro. Photo: courtesy of INSIGHTEC Ltd.