Focused Ultrasound

Clinical trials are now in progress to use focused ultrasound technology to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, as well as brain cancer and other cancers. (Focused ultrasound is currently an FDA-approved treatment for uterine fibroids.) 

* Please note, we are no longer recruiting patients for the Parkinson's disease trial*

MR-guided focused ultrasound, also referred to as focused ultrasound ablation, is a non-invasive approach to traditional surgery. By combining ultrasound technology and magnetic resonance (MR), doctors can use focused ultrasound technology to target tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation.

How it Works

With focused ultrasound, multiple intersecting beams of sound are focused on to a single spot of diseased tissue. The heat causes destruction of a targeted area, similar to how beams of light from a magnifying glass can burn a hole in a leaf.

The procedure takes place within an MRI scanner equipped with a high-energy ultrasound transducer—which allows doctors to target the area using the ultrasound with great accuracy. The patient usually goes home the same day. Focused ultrasound uses a non-invasive approach promoting fast recovery times for the patient.

See How it Works

Learn more about focused ultrasound and see how it works to treat specific conditions:

Research at Swedish

Swedish is currently one of four clinical trial sites in the United States testing the safety of this procedure for neurological treatment.

Learn more about Swedish’s clinical trials

Please note: patient recruitment is closed for the Parkinson's Disease Focused Ultrasound Trial

Clinical Trials

A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Feasibility of Transcranial MRI-Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery in the Treatment of Brain Tumors
Principal Investigator: Stephen Monteith, M.D.

A Pivotal Study to Evaluate the Effectiveness and Safety of ExAblate Transcranial MRgFUS Thalamotomy Treatment of Medication Refractory Essential Tremor Subjects
Principal Investigator: Ryder Gwinn, M.D.

A feasibility study to evaluate safety and initial effectiveness of Exablate Transcranial MR Guided Focused Ultrasound for Unilateral Thalamotomy in the treatment of Medication-Refractory Tremor Dominant Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease
Principal Investigator: Ryder Gwinn, M.D.

Stephen Monteith, M.D. and David Newell, M.D.

Focused Ultrasound in the News