Ontario Canada Government Expands Essential Tremor Non-Invasive Treatment That Outperforms Surgery in Clinical Trials

Jul 18, 2019 | Canada, Essential Tremors, HIFU, MRI-Guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, Ontario

Concept of national healthcare system - Canada

The Ontario government will offer a new, non-invasive treatment for essential tumors. With an allocation of $1.4 million for 72 patients, this new treatment uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) waves to a specific area to the brain to remove the cells that cause tremors. While there is no cure for essential tremors, during clinical trials, the treatment has evidenced improvements by 46% with shorter recovery times and lower risks than surgery.

Approximately 4% of Ontarians aged 65 and up are living with essential tumors—a condition that causes uncontrollable shaking that can make it challenging to complete simple tasks like fastening a button or drinking from a cup. Ontario is investing in frontline services and expanded treatment options to improve the quality of life for elderly Ontarians struggling with essential tremors.

New Treatment Technology

With approval from Health Canada, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommended that MRI-guided HIFU treat essential tremors be publicly funded last year. Ontario will invest almost $1.9 million in MRI-guided HIFU to treat essential tumors. In 2018-19, the ministry provided funding for 24 procedures (12 at Sunnybrook, 12 at UHN). In 2019-20, the ministry provided funding for 96 procedures (48 at Sunnybrook and 48 at UHN).

Sunnybrook and University Health Network Offer the Treatment

The MRI-guided HIFU to treat essential tumors is a non-invasive alternative treatment option to surgery or medications. The treatment is currently offered at Sunnybrook and University Health Network (UHN) and has shown to be more efficient than surgery.


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