John Crowe's hands were often shaky, but MRI-guided focused ultrasound treatment made his tremor decrease. Read John's story.

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) offers the very latest in the treatment of essential tremor and tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease: MRI-guided focused ultrasound (FUS).

Currently, we are the only healthcare provider in Maryland—and one of the few in the United States—offering this game-changing, noninvasive procedure. FUS is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of essential tremor. In 2021, the FDA expanded its approval to include treatment of Parkinson’s disease that causes tremor more than any other motor symptom.

FUS is being explored for treatment of other neurologic conditions, including tremor associated multiple sclerosis, epileptic seizures that cannot be controlled through other treatment methods, stroke and brain tumors. FUS for any condition not approved by the FDA is considered experimental at this time. 

How MRI-Guided Focused Ultrasound Works

Currently, FUS is authorized for treatment on one side of the brain only, meaning it only helps symptoms on one side of the body. Research on the benefits and safety of treatment on both sides of the brain is ongoing.

Our team of movement disorder specialists starts the procedure by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create a map of the brain to pinpoint the treatment area. Then, the team proceeds to send more than 1,000 high-intensity ultrasound waves to the target area to remove the affected brain cells. Normal cells are not harmed.

Is Focused Ultrasound Right for Your Essential Tremor?

Medication like beta blockers and deep brain stimulation (surgery in which a hole is drilled in the skull and electrodes are implanted in the brain) are traditional treatments for essential tremor symptoms.

However, you may build a tolerance to your medication over time, and deep brain stimulation, which also involves the implantation of a pacemaker, requires additional surgery. These are some reasons why FUS may be a better option for you.

How Patients Benefit

FUS is a same-day procedure that lasts about three hours. It does not require sedation; you can stay awake the whole time.

Since no radiation or incisions are involved, there is a low risk of side effects. After the procedure, you may experience changes in sensation in the hands or balance problems, but these side effects are temporary and not serious. People recover from FUS quickly and have reported getting back to their regular daily activities within a few days.

Patients notice an improvement in their condition almost immediately after the procedure. They typically experience a 60 to 70 percent reduction in symptoms.

Why Choose Us for Focused Ultrasound

UMMC is a pioneer in FUS treatment. We were among the first to offer FUS, and our hospital is one of only a handful nationwide with deep expertise in the procedure.

We directed the groundbreaking clinical trial research that led to FUS being authorized by the FDA for treatment of essential tremor. Our ongoing clinical studies are leading the way in FUS research toward making the procedure the new standard of care for treatment of Parkinson’s, essential tremor, glioblastoma and other devastating brain diseases.

You will be in the excellent hands of UMMC’s highly knowledgeable and experienced multidisciplinary team, which is made up of neurologists, neurosurgeons, diagnostic radiologists, neuroradiologists and neuropsychologists.

Make An Appointment

To schedule a consultation with one of our movement disorders specialists or for more information on FUS and our clinical trials, call us at 410-328-3514 or email us at FocusedUltrasound@som.umaryland.edu.