New type of brain surgery where an incision won’t be necessary

brain surgery

The new procedure uses sound waves to interrupt flawed circuits in the brain

Because our brains are so delicate, there are plenty of disorders that can not be treated with surgery. And if surgeons are able to operate, surgery usually comes with an increased risk. But now, scientists might have discovered a way to treat disorders in the brain without spilling any blood.

Focused ultrasound

The treatment is called focused ultrasound. And it is a technology that uses sound waves to raise the temperature in your brain. And with that destroy certain connections or cells. Dr. Neal Kassell, founder and chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, told CNN: “With focused ultrasound, instead of using an optical lens to focus beams of light, an acoustic lens is used to focus multiple beams of ultrasound energy on targets deep in the body with a high degree of precision and accuracy, sparing the adjacent normal tissue.”

Before undergoing the treatment, the patient has to get an MRI and CT scan. Just so doctors can get a clear image of the brain and find the target they need to aim the sound waves at. After some initial test shots, the neurosurgeon can use a special platform that indicates how many beams are needed to treat a certain disorder.

Essential tremor

The procedure has already been tested with patients who were suffering from essential tremor. A neurological disorder that results in shaking and trembling, usually in the patient’s hands. Brenda Hric was one of the patients that recently received the ultrasound treatment at the University of Virginia. She told CNN: “I looked at my hand, and I could see that it was not moving, and that was the first time I had been able to see my fingers still in about 20 years. I think it’s definitely a miracle, and I thank the Lord for it.”

Currently, around 170 disorders and diseases can be treated with the ultrasound technology. But researchers are hoping that one day, ultrasound treatment will become the standard. “My belief is that in 10 years,” Kassell said, “focused ultrasound will be a mainstream therapy that is affecting millions of patients every year around the world. It’ll be widely accepted.”

Also read: Scientists might be close to finding a cure for blindness

Source: CNN | Image: Unsplash, Milad Fakurian