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MRI-Guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy Aids Essential Tremor Over Five Years

Last Updated: November 21, 2022.

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Unilateral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy for medication-refractory essential tremor shows sustained and significant tremor improvement at five years, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

G. Rees Cosgrove, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the long-term safety and efficacy of unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy for medication-refractory essential tremor. The analysis included 45 and 40 patients who completed the four- and five-year follow-ups, respectively.

The researchers found that Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor scores for postural tremor for the treated hand remained significantly improved from baseline at both 48 and 60 months after treatment (73.3 and 73.1 percent, respectively). There were also significant improvements in combined hand tremor/motor scores at both time points (49.5 and 40.4 percent). There were slight increases in functional disability scores over time, but the scores remained significantly improved through the five years. Similarly, Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire scores remained significantly improved from baseline. Previously reported adverse events remained mild or moderate, with no new adverse events reported.

"Unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy is an effective treatment for patients with intractable essential tremor and demonstrates significant durability over the long term," the authors write. "The sustained therapeutic benefit reported herein versus the modest rate of persistent mild or moderate adverse events makes MRgFUS an attractive treatment option for patients with disabling and medication-refractory essential tremor."

Several authors disclosed ties to the medical device industry.

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