When Carol Klein arrived at the Miami Neuroscience Institute of Baptist Health, she was ready for a change. “Essential tremor had put a damper on my life because I couldn’t do many things,” she explained. Carol’s experience with essential tremor (also known as familial tremor, or ET) is showcased in this moving documentary - and how focused ultrasound treatment (FUS) got her back to enjoying everyday life, including baking with her husband, Richard.

Discovering Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Essential Tremor

Carol is one of an estimated 10 million Americans who have been diagnosed with essential tremor1. While it can be mild, the neurological disorder can also interfere with many aspects of day-to-day life. In Carol’s case, it meant she could no longer easily enjoy a hot cup of coffee, eat soup, or measure baking ingredients because her hand tremors caused her to spill everything. This was not the life she had planned.

A lifelong teacher, Carol set out to research essential tremor treatments, as medication was not effective for her. This led her to learn about focused ultrasound (FUS) treatment, which uses MRI-guided sound waves to treat the small spot in the brain that could cause tremors. For many patients, the result is immediate tremor relief in the treated hand. While a surgical procedure, there are no incisions or implants, as involved in deep brain stimulation (DBS), and usually no need for a hospital stay. And while Carol read that many of the potential complications could be temporary, she also saw data indicating the potential of numbness/tingling, imbalance, and problems walking for a longer period.

In the end, after weighing the risks and benefits of the procedure, as well as the inconvenience of having the head shaved, she decided, “If this can help my tremor, I will do it. I will do it.”

Focused Ultrasound Treatment Day

On the day of her focused ultrasound treatment, neurosurgeon Dr. Lloyd Zucker had Carol draw lines on a piece of paper to assess Carol’s hand tremor severity before her treatment. Throughout the procedure, which on average takes 2 hours and 30 minutes, Dr. Zucker evaluated Carol’s progress, asking her to draw lines and hold out her arm, as well as check to see if she felt any sensations for potential side effects. By the final test, Carol could draw straight and steady lines.

“It never gets old when you see somebody who’s been shaking for years looking at their hand like it literally belongs to somebody else,” Zucker reflects.

The results have been obvious and immediate. After her essential tremor treatment, Carol excitedly showed off her newly steady hand to the hospital staff and her husband. Three months later, Carol noted activities that she previously struggled with were now second nature. In fact, she’s taken up baking again and can now easily measure and pour ingredients.

Like many people who’ve chosen focused ultrasound, Carol attributes her new lease on life to the benefit of focused ultrasound for her tremor, and she is excited to have a new opportunity to live the life she’s wanted. She’s also sharing her story – which you can see below (be sure to wait for the chocolatey frosting recipe at the end.)

While Carol’s story is impactful, her testimonial may not be representative of all treatment outcomes. For additional information about focused ultrasound for essential tremor, including safety information, please read the information available on our website or find an essential tremor treatment center near you.


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Emily Jo Mason, PhD, Medical Science Liaison

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