Magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy for essential tremor: 5-year follow-up results.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of neurosurgery


washington; swedish; swedish neuro


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate, at 4 and 5 years posttreatment, the long-term safety and efficacy of unilateral MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy for medication-refractory essential tremor in a cohort of patients from a prospective, controlled, multicenter clinical trial.

METHODS: Outcomes per the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST), including postural tremor scores (CRST Part A), combined hand tremor/motor scores (CRST Parts A and B), and functional disability scores (CRST Part C), were measured by a qualified neurologist. The Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) was used to assess quality of life. CRST and QUEST scores at 48 and 60 months post-MRgFUS were compared to those at baseline to assess treatment efficacy and durability. All adverse events (AEs) were reported.

RESULTS: Forty-five and 40 patients completed the 4- and 5-year follow-ups, respectively. CRST scores for postural tremor (Part A) for the treated hand remained significantly improved by 73.3% and 73.1% from baseline at both 48 and 60 months posttreatment, respectively (both p < 0.0001). Combined hand tremor/motor scores (Parts A and B) also improved by 49.5% and 40.4% (p < 0.0001) at each respective time point. Functional disability scores (Part C) increased slightly over time but remained significantly improved through the 5 years (p < 0.0001). Similarly, QUEST scores remained significantly improved from baseline at year 4 (p < 0.0001) and year 5 (p < 0.0003). All previously reported AEs remained mild or moderate, and no new AEs were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy demonstrates sustained and significant tremor improvement at 5 years with an overall improvement in quality-of-life measures and without any progressive or delayed complications. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01827904 (

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)