High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
NewYork-Presbyterian offers MR-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound, the most advanced precision treatment for patients with essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s Disease. This revolutionary procedure is incision-free brain surgery, which allows for a quick recovery and return to daily activities. In many cases, patients' tremors are significantly reduced immediately following surgery.
Our world-renowned experts, Dr. Michael Kaplitt from Weill Cornell Medicine and Dr. Gordon H. Baltuch from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, are two of the most experienced high-intensity focused ultrasound surgeons in the world.
Therapy for Tremors
For people that suffer from shaky extremities, even the simplest of everyday tasks can be very difficult and seem untreatable. The most common causes are tremor in Parkinson’s disease, which affects about 80% of people with the disease, and essential tremor (ET) which affects approximately 10 million individuals in the United States. For those who experience significant tremors and have tried medication without seeing any progress, the innovative nonsurgical high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment may be an option.
What is high-intensity focused ultrasound?
MR-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that uses beams of ultrasound energy to precisely target and destroy small areas of brain tissue that are causing symptoms, particularly tremors. The procedure is performed while the patient is awake in an MRI scanner allowing our specialists to precisely plan and target specific brain cells with little to no harm to surrounding tissue and minimal side effects. For patient safety, the scanner delivers non-ionizing ultrasound energy and measures temperature changes in the brain.
Since focused ultrasound is non-invasive and different from traditional surgery it offers many benefits, including:
- No incisions and little to no risk of infection
- No harm to adjacent tissue
- Real-time visualization of targeted brain cells
- Immediate resolution of symptoms and tremor improvement
- Quicker recovery time to return to normal daily activities
Who is eligible for the procedure?
Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of medication-refractory essential tremor, age 22 years or older, may be eligible for this treatment. Patients should speak to their doctor to learn more and find out if they are eligible, as there are a few limitations that may not allow certain patients to undergo this procedure.
Why Choose Us
Our world-renowned neurosurgeons, Dr. Michael Kaplitt and Dr. Gordon H. Baltuch are experts at diagnosing and treating neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and other movement disorders. Both surgeons are also among the most experienced in focused ultrasound surgery, regularly performing the procedure several times a week.
Our surgeons are also backed by the world-class patient care teams of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery. As a designated Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, we are recognized for the multidisciplinary and comprehensive care, resources, and excellence we provide to our patients, as well as the research, education, and community outreach we conduct.
In addition to treating new patients for essential tremor, patients have the opportunity to join clinical trials at our world-class academic medical institutions, Columbia University, and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Professor of Neurological Surgery
Director, Movement Disorders and Pain Service
View full profile
Co-Chief of Functional Neurosurgery Division at Columbia Neurosurgery
View full profile
Learn how we help our patients stay amazing
It's like magic. All those years of having the tremor, I adapted, but now I don’t have to adapt anymore.
Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center
Columbia Neurosurgeons - Department of Neurosurgery
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia - Department of Neurology
Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center - Department of Neurosurgery
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell - Department of Neurology
Columbia Center for Movement Disorders Surgery
Columbia Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders