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New Focused Ultrasound Installation Opens New Doors for Medicare Patients with Tremor

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Before the FUS procedure, a patient is asked to draw spiral and horizontal lines, which show the effects of the tremor (top). After the procedure, with the tremor greatly reduced or even eliminated, the patient has much greater movement control and can draw spirals and lines (bottom).
02-17-2022

• Medicare patients can now have focused ultrasound procedure for essential tremor at NYP
• Dr. Kaplitt is the most experienced neurosurgeon in New York in using focused ultrasound for tremor
• Many more potential uses for focused ultrasound are now being explored

With the installation of high-intensity focused ultrasound technology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center has expanded treatment options for patients covered by Medicare who have essential tremor or the tremors of Parkinson’s disease. The availability of this advanced technology in the hospital represents an important opportunity for Medicare patients, who are now eligible for covered treatment for tremors.

Dr. Michael Kaplitt, director of the movement disorder service at Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center and a pioneer in the development and testing of focused ultrasound and other innovative treatments for movement disorders, has been conducting clinical trials at a Weill Cornell Medicine research location. He has successfully treated many patients there over the past several years,  but that research location is not eligible for Medicare reimbursement. Today, with the availability of focused ultrasound technology at the hospital, Medicare patients may receive covered treatment for their tremors.

Patient Success Stories
Hear from some of the patients who have undergone focused ultrasound treatment:
Steve Smith: "It's a Miracle — Total Life-Changer!"
Katina Ansen: "After Focused Ultrasound, I've Gotten My Life Back!"
Katina Ansen: "It's Like Magic!" (second side treatment)
Alexandra Lebenthal: The prominent CEO talks to Business Insider about her procedure

Alexandra Lebenthal, before and after her focused ultrasound procedure:

Find out more about Essential Tremor

“I am extremely excited to have this new machine available in a clinical location, making it available to Medicare patients,” says Dr. Kaplitt. “To see a patient arrive for treatment with a pronounced tremor, then get up from the table just a few hours later able to write, eat, sip from a coffee cup, and perform all the daily tasks they’ve been unable to do for years – that is so very gratifying to me. Too many people with essential tremor and Parkinsonian tremor have been waiting for the opportunity to receive covered treatment with this remarkable technology, and I am truly delighted to be able to offer it now.”

“We couldn’t be happier to have this new installation available to patients,” added Dr. Philip E. Stieg, neurosurgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “We are grateful to the hospital for sharing our commitment to innovation, and for making the investment in this important new technology. We are eager to treat as many patients as we can to help them overcome their tremors and give them back daily abilities they’ve been missing.”

Dr. Kaplitt has a long history of innovation in treating movement disorders. He was the first to conduct a clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, and he continues to be a world leader in the field of gene therapy for movement disorders. He has been an advocate for focused ultrasound technology for years and was instrumental in conducting the clinical trials that earned FDA approval for the device.

“There are so many potential uses for this non-invasive technology,” Dr. Kaplitt says. “The ability to make a repair to a minuscule part of the brain that is malfunctioning and causing tremors, with no incision and no intrusion into the brain, is extraordinary. I am so happy to have a second machine available to us, giving us the capacity to treat far more patients than we were able to before – and to have them covered by Medicare.

Listen: Alexandra Lebenthal and Dr. Kaplitt were featured on an episode of Dr. Stieg's podcast, This Is Your Brain With Dr. Phil Stieg:

Dr. Kaplitt has published many peer-reviewed articles on focused ultrasound. See those articles here. For more about focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor, visit the links below. To make an appointment with Dr. Kaplitt for evaluation, please call 212-746-4966 or Request an Appointment using our online form.

See videos of the procedure, interviews with patients who have been treated, podcasts, and news links about Dr. Kaplitt’s pioneering work with focused ultrasound here.

Other Related Links
Dr. Kaplitt First in New York to Use Focused Ultrasound for Essential Tremor
Focused Ultrasound: New Hope for Movement Disorders
Weill Cornell Medicine News: New Treatment Offers Relief for Patients With Essential Tremor