Congratulations to Dr. Okun on being quoted in the article “Wise Buy? Focused Ultrasound Therapies – Exciting technology, but now sold to patients on slim supporting evidence.” This article, featured on MedPage Today focused on the debate between Focused ultrasound and its’ possibility of replacing Deep Brain Stimulation. Dr. Okun argued the “con” side of the dispute.
Michael S. Okun, MD, the chairman of neurology at the University of Florida noted that the opportunity for later surgery (with DBS) was an advantage, because mistakes and complications can often be corrected. That’s not possible with FUS, which burns away tissue. “You can’t troubleshoot a focused ultrasound problem,” he said.
Okun also noted that the target for FUS in Parkinson’s disease is very small — “the size of a squashed pea” — and can’t be visualized well in MRI scans. That, along with difficulties focusing the beam because of interference from the skull, means off-target ablation is likely to occur periodically. And FUS can be used on only one side of the brain, because thalamic ablation on both sides has consistently been shown to have unacceptable adverse effects. DBS, in contrast, can be safely used on both sides to achieve more complete symptom control.
To read the complete article and see both sides of the debate please use the link above.