Department of Neurosurgery


Dr. Wael Asaad Treats His First Essential Tremor Patient With Focused Ultrasound

Photo credit: Boston Globe

“Dr. Wael Asaad, who received his PhD in systems neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Yale University, is the director of the Functional Neurosurgery and Epilepsy division at the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, which is headquartered at Rhode Island Hospital. He performed the first incisionless thalamotomy procedure this summer, making the hospital the second provider in New England to offer the treatment. (The first was Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.)

Q: What happens during this procedure, an incisionless outpatient thalamotomy?

Asaad: The procedure uses focused ultrasound energy, guided by magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. The MRI is used to target the location in the brain that’s responsible for the tremor and then an ultrasound helmet sends more than a thousand beams of energy through the patient’s skull [to thermally ablate the area] without damaging any nearby brain tissue.

The patient is awake throughout the procedure, and we evaluate (by having the patient draw or write something, for example) the tremor’s improvement throughout. The procedure takes about two to three hours. An MRI scan is done afterwards to assess the treatment…”

Read the Full Article and Q and A with Dr. Asaad Here


Wael F. Asaad, MD, PhD

Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience
Vice-Chair, Research
Director, Functional and Epilepsy Neurosurgery Program
Director, Laboratory for Neurophysiology and Neuromodulation
Associate Director, Neurosurgery Residency Training Program
Director, Fellowship in Functional & Epilepsy Neurosurgery

Comprehensive Movement Disorders Center