Brain

'It's like they flipped a switch': How HIFU relieved man's tremor after 50 years

Jimmy Hiner was the first patient in Texas to receive HIFU to treat an essential tremor.

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a breakthrough treatment now being offered at UT Southwestern for some patients with essential tremors (ET) and tremor-predominant Parkinson’s disease (TPPD).

The image-guided procedure allows us to focus 1,024 ultrasound beams across an intact skull and pinpoint cables in the brain that are causing tremors. With HIFU, there is no incision, anesthesia, or implantable hardware. The technology uses controlled heat to ablate tissue that signal the tremors.

Most importantly, HIFU has the potential to transform lives.

In early March, Jimmy Hiner (featured in video) became the first patient in Texas to receive transcranial HIFU treatments for an essential tremor. We started his treatment at 10 a.m. and by 11 a.m. Jimmy's tremor – which he's had in some form for nearly 50 years – was gone.

"It's just amazing the difference it made," he said. "It's like they went in and flipped a switch and it went away."

UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute is the first center in Texas to offer transcranial HIFU to treat essential tremors. Learn more on our HIFU website. If you're interested in speaking with a specialist about HIFU, please call 682-503-1931 or request an appointment online.