Essential Tremor

Signs and Symptoms

  • Action tremor of the upper extremities (shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist or hand)
  • May involve a resting tremor of the head and neck and/or lower jaw
  • Can also involve the voice
  • Difficulty writing, drinking from a cup, dialing a telephone


  • Essential tremor is the most common type of movement disorder
  • Affects men and women equally and is inherited in 60% of all cases
  • Tremors on the right side of the body are caused by overactive brain cells in the left thalamus and vice versa
  • Only a small part of the thalamus, called the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) is the cause of the tremor

Gamma Knife Treatment for Essential Tremor

Our experienced Gamma Knife team works collaboratively to treat those with Essential Tremor. The Gamma Knife targets the cells of the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) in the thalamus with such accuracy that it minimizes the risk of radiation to nearby normal parts of the brain. The unique design of the Gamma Knife includes 192 beams of focused radiation with a low dose of radiation until the combined beams meet at the targeted VIM and destroy the overactive cells.

  • Non- invasive treatment
  • No general anesthesia
  • Preserves healthy tissue surrounding the target area
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Planning and treatment on the same day
  • For tremors of the right side, the left thalamus is treated and vice versa
  • Patients typically see reduction in tremor within 3-6 months of treatment
  • For those with severe tremor on both the left and right side, evaluation for the second side treatment occurs after one year post-treatment