Essential tremor

"With the application of HIFU technology, a fundamental change is produced because the treatment does not involve open surgery and can also be performed on patients who are not surgical candidates due to their age or other reasons".


What is essential tremor?

Tremor is an involuntary rhythmic and oscillatory movement produced by the alternating contraction of agonist and antagonist muscles.

From the group of neurological diseases that can present tremor, it is worth mentioning, due to its frequency, Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

The Clínica Universidad de Navarra has incorporated the most advanced model of HIFU equipment, high intensity focused ultrasounds, to treat patients with disabling tremor.

MRI-guided focused ultrasound allows a highly accurate and minimally invasive procedure to treat essential tremor.

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What are the common symptoms of essential tremor?

Tremor is typically postural (action tremor), although it may increase when performing a movement directed towards an object (kinetic, or essential, tremor).

The tremor’s intensity becomes accentuated in situations of emotional stress, fatigue, due to stimulants (caffeine) or when feeling “watched”. It improves with alcohol intake.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Tremor in daily activities such as eating, drinking, dressing, washing, writing, etc.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may suffer from essential tremor

How is essential tremor diagnosed?

<p>Dr. Zubieta en la sala de exploraci&oacute;n neurorradiol&oacute;gica&nbsp;</p>

Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder.

A family history of tremor is found in 60% of patients.

It is not usually accompanied by other clinical manifestations and usually affects the upper extremities and head. Occasionally the lower extremities are also affected.

The diagnosis is established by means of the physical exploration of the patient accompanied by the accomplishment of tests to evaluate the nervous system. It is frequent that it is necessary, in order to rule out possible causes of the tremor, the realization of a magnetic resonance and neurophysiological tests.

How is essential tremor treated?

The treatment of essential tremor is symptomatic, that is to say, it is oriented to diminish the symptomatology since there is no curative treatment. Therefore, the decision to initiate or not a treatment depends on the intensity of the symptomatology and the functional or social incapacity that the tremor is producing in the patient.

The most effective treatments for essential tremor are beta-blockers. There are other drugs such as benzodiazepines, gabapentin, primidone, etc., which have also proved effective in some patients.

The Clinic has incorporated new equipment to treat tremor without surgery, both in patients suffering from essential tremor.

This is High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technology guided by magnetic resonance imaging, a non-invasive procedure that focuses ultrasound on a point in the brain.

In this way, as if it were a magnifying glass in which the sun's rays converge, it manages to concentrate the heat from hundreds of ultrasound beams on the target: the group of neurons involved in the tremor.

The therapeutic alternative for all these patients was, until now, deep brain stimulation surgery, and with this treatment, in patients where there is an indication, it is possible to solve the problem without having to go through a surgical procedure.

In the cases in which the tremor supposes an important functional capacity and needs a bilateral treatment, a surgical treatment can be considered that consists of the deep cerebral stimulation by means of the placement of deep electrodes in the nucleus of the thalamus.

This surgical technique has given very good results and the improvements are persistent with very few surgical complications.

HIFU, non-surgical treatment of tremor

The Clinica Universidad de Navarra incorporates the most advanced model of high intensity ultrasound for the treatment of patients with essential tremor.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Neurology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Neurology Department has extensive experience in the diagnosis and multidisciplinary treatment of neurological diseases.

We offer a diagnosis in less than 72 hours, along with a proposal for personalized treatment and post-consultation follow-up of the patient by our specialized nursing team.

We have the most advanced technology for an accurate diagnosis with cutting-edge equipment such as HIFU, deep brain stimulation devices, video EEG, PET and epilepsy surgery, among others.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • State-of-the-art diagnostic assistance with great work in research and teaching.
  • Specialized nursing team.
  • We work together with the Sleep Unit.

Our team of professionals

Neurology specialists with experience in the treatment of essential tremor