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Functional Neurosurgery

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from some form of essential tremor, a condition that causes uncontrollable shaking of the hands, head and voice. Neurosurgeons with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at Tampa General Hospital now offer Focused Ultrasound, a promising out-patient and FDA-approved procedure


Learn more about Functional Neurosurgery from Dr. Harry van Loveren

Functional Neurosurgery refers to chronic neurological disorders that interrupt a person's day-to-day function or abilities. This broad term can refer to several conditions, including chronic pain and movement disorders such as:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Tremors
  • Spasticity, a condition in which a person’s muscles remain continuously contracted
  • Epilepsy 

USF Health neurosurgeons work closely with the USF Health Movement Disorders Clinic and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, both within the USF Department of Neurology, as well as Neuropsychology, to provide comprehensive patient care, including surgical treatment options when appropriate. 

Focused Ultrasound and Movement Disorders

Focused Ultrasound, an innovative, new procedure being used by USF Health neurosurgeons at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) for the first time in the region offers promising treatment for people suffering from essential tremor (ET), Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating neurological disorders. The minimally invasive method is FDA-approved.   

"The procedure – which is typically done on an outpatient basis – is part of the next generation of care at Tampa General, and aligns with its commitment to being patient-focused and technology driven," said Dr. Oliver Flouty, assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and a neurosurgeon at Tampa General Hospital. 

Focused Ultrasound is primarily used to treat and improve tremors of the hand by employing high-intensity focused ultrasound beams guided by an MRI machine. The procedure requires no anesthesia or exposure to ionizing radiation and, because there are no incisions, risk of infection is minimal. Focused Ultrasound is FDA-approved for disabling tremor and select Parkinson’s patients and the procedure is covered by Medicare.

Conditions Treated

  • Essential Tremors is a condition that causes uncontrollable shaking of the hands, head and voice. In the initial stages, the tremor is mild, but progresses over time. but progresses over time. In some patients, the severity of the tremor becomes unbearable, interfering with daily activities, such as eating, dressing, or typing on a keyboard. ET is more common in people over age 40, although it also affects people who are much younger.
  • Parkinson's disease, another neurodegenerative disorder, affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, with symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, slow movement, and unstable posture. When traditional medication induces side effects or isn’t well tolerated, Focused Ultrasound may be an option for select Parkinson’s patients who suffer from symptoms primarily affecting one side of the body or suffer mostly from tremors while their remaining symptoms are medically managed. 


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Tampa General Hospital and USF Health neurosurgeons first in Tampa Bay to provide patients new innovative ultrasound technology.


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