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The Making of Medicine

Focused Ultrasound: A Big Day for UVA (and Medicine)

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved focused ultrasound for the treatment of essential tremor, the most common movement disorder. This is a very big day for UVA, as our Dr. Jeff Elias shepherded the international clinical trial that led to the device’s approval. Using this approach, doctors can now conduct brain surgery without having to cut into the skull. By simply focusing sound waves inside the brain, Dr. Elias can alleviate the uncontrollable shaking that plagues the lives of people with essential tremor.

Billy Williams, the first trial participant to receive the procedure here at UVA, went from being unable to feed himself cereal prior to the surgery to being able to do a crossword in the recovery room afterward. Isn’t that amazing?

Focused ultrasound won’t be for every patient with essential tremor, but I’m sure it will be a blessing for many.

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