What is essential tremor?
Essential tremor is a movement disorder that involves uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body — most commonly the hands. Other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, may cause tremors, but in essential tremor, the movement disorder is the only aspect of the disease. Essential tremor can interfere with many normal activities including using a smart phone, buttoning clothes, writing, and cutting food with a knife and fork.
What are the symptoms of essential tremor?
Essential tremor is marked by periods of small, rapid movements and they may be constant, frequent or occasional. They can affect one or both sides of the body. Most often, the essential tremor becomes noticeable when you try to do something intentional, such as tie your shoes.
Essential tremor typically occurs in people in their 60s, but can affect younger people as well. Certain conditions like stress and lack of sleep can worsen tremor, as well as behaviors like smoking cigarettes or consuming caffeine.
Gamma Knife® treatment for essential tremor
Gamma Knife uses a strong dose of precise radiation to destroy the target tissue and interrupt signals the brain sends to the muscles, telling them to move. This one-day procedure requires no hospital stay.
Who is a good candidate for Gamma Knife treatment for essential tremor?
Patients with essential tremor have multiple treatment options; most commonly, they are prescribed medications known as beta-blockers. Unfortunately for many patients who have asthma, diabetes and certain heart conditions, beta-blockers are not recommended. Gamma Knife is an ideal alternative treatment method for those who are not able to take beta-blockers, as well as for patients who are not responding to medication.
How soon does tremor stop after Gamma Knife treatment?
Most patients notice a reduction in tremor between three to six months after the procedure.