Invasive surgery can be a scary thought for many who are looking for essential tremor treatment. Luckily, it’s not always necessary to go through invasive surgery for symptomatic relief. There are several noninvasive treatment options available that have helped many patients return to their daily lives with a lessened tremor. A few of these options are Neuravive, Gamma Knife, and medication.
Neuravive, also known as MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), is a newly FDA-approved option that lesions the brain without the use of incisions. Neuravive first uses MRI to target the thalamus—the area of the brain thought to cause essential tremor—and then uses short, 15-second bursts of ultrasound waves to treat the targeted area.
Patients often experience a decreased tremor immediately following treatment, and no ionizing radiation is used. However, since Neuravive lesions the brain, the results are irreversible.
Gamma Knife treatment is similar to Neuravive, in that it targets and lesions the thalamus without the use of invasive surgery. Gamma Knife uses multiple beams of radiation, focused on the targeted area of the thalamus. These radiation beams do not target healthy tissue in the process.
Patients generally feel symptomatic relief around 3-6 months following the procedure. However, ionizing radiation is used to treat the brain. And, like Neuravive, the lesioning is irreversible.
While medication cannot cure essential tremor, many patients experience symptomatic relief while taking medication. Most often, beta blockers and anti-seizure medications are prescribed for hand tremors. While they help many, up to 30% of essential tremor patients do not find them helpful. Also, as with any medication, there are often side effects such as nausea, sleeping problems or fatigue.
With several treatment options available, you may wonder: which essential tremor treatment would offer relief for my hand tremors? While education is the first step toward taking your health into your own hands, it’s always best to ask for advice from a specialist before undergoing treatment. If you’d like to learn more about the treatment options that may be available to you before scheduling an appointment with your doctor, you can contact the educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center by calling 844-NO-TREMOR.