FDA Approves Scalpel-Free Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease Tremor

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of focused ultrasound for tremor in patients with medication-resistant Parkinson’s disease.

The procedure, which allows doctors to perform brain surgery without cutting into the skull, was shown safe and effective for reducing medication-resistant Parkinson’s tremor in clinical trials led by UVA neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD. “We are very excited about this approval,” Elias says. “Now patients with Parkinson’s disease will have more options if their symptoms become refractory to medication.”

UVA previously led the clinical research that paved the way for FDA approval of this technology for treating essential tremor, a common movement disorder affecting millions of Americans. Now, Elias will continue to test the technology’s potential for treating other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In addition, researchers at UVA are evaluating the scalpel-free surgery’s potential to treat many other conditions, including breast cancer, brain tumors, epilepsy and pain.

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