MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a cutting-edge (without the cutting) treatment for essential tremor currently available on Medicare in the USA, universal health care in Japan, and in other countries around Europe.
Currently, the most common non-pharmacological treatment for essential tremor in the UK is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), an invasive procedure which, although very effective, involves the surgical opening of the skull, permanently implanted hardware requiring surgical battery replacements for the remaining lifetime of the patient, as well as a long recovery period and hospital stay.
Focused Ultrasound technology is a safe, cost-effective and non-invasive treatment which delivers the same patient outcomes as DBS, often in an outpatient setting, enabling patients to quickly return to work and activities of daily life.
In June 2018, the treatment received positive guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This was an evidence-based recommendation which sets out the care and services suitable for people with a specific condition.
In November 2020 it was announced that MRgFUS would be available on the NHS in England from April 2020. If you would like to find out more about how MRgFUS might be appropriate for you should contact your GP. Our website contains general medical information only about MRgFUS. The medical information is not advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor.
1. Essential tremor impacts the life of over one million people in the UK
Essential tremor has a severe impact on quality of life, and patients often feel isolated as they are unable to do simple things like eat and drink in public.
2. Focused Ultrasound changes lives
Focused Ultrasound provides a life-changing treatment which NICE has ruled as being safe and effective. Making a significant improvement on people's lives.
3. There is currently only one hospital in the UK with Focused Ultrasound technology
At present St Mary’s Hospital in London is the only centre in the whole country that has the equipment necessary to treat people with Focused Ultrasound. With limited access, patients have to wait months and travel 100s of miles to get treatment.
4. We are slowly getting there...
The good news is progress is being made in the NHS with the development of a commissioning policy for Focused Ultrasound. NTF supporters are playing a key role in making contact with their local MPs to make them aware of the impact of living with ET and the importance of MRgFUS being available to NHS patients. The policy, once implemented, will mean innovative, evidence-based technology being taken up by the NHS to ensure patients have access to effective, life-changing treatment.
5. We can do it!
It is possible to make Focused Ultrasound treatment reasonably accessible across the whole of the UK for people with essential tremor.
But in order to do this we need to urge the NHS to consider providing the technology at centres across the UK, not just in London.
Watch “Geoff’s Journey” as he travels from Leeds to London to have his treatment - if more centres were able to offer this, then Geoff’s journey would have been significantly shorter and easier...
Watch Geoff's journey about his experience of Focused Ultrasound treatment and essential tremor.
What can you do to help?
If having a NICE reviewed, innovative, effective, non-invasive treatment for ET available on the NHS is important to you, or people you know, then get in touch by using the contact form below, and we’ll let you know what you can do to make a difference.