Essential Tremor

Essential tremor (ET) is a common neurologic disorder. Patients with ET experience an exaggerated tremor, often of the hand or arm but sometimes affecting the leg, head and neck, trunk, or voice. This tremor can be disabling, interfering with normal activities like eating, drinking, and writing. ET is often hereditary, meaning that patients may have an affected family member. In cases where medications are not able to suppress tremor symptoms, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an excellent treatment option. DBS is able to reduce tremor dramatically in 80-90% of patients. DBS therapy can be tailored to fit a patient’s symptoms over time, and the procedure is reversible. For patients who are unable to have a stimulator implanted, thalamotomy (burning a small spot in a part of the brain called the thalamus) is also effective at reducing tremor, though this therapy cannot be adapted over time or reversed.