ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida woman says an incision-less brain surgery that just arrived in Central Florida has completely changed her life.
When you’re living life with Essential tremor, everyday tasks can seem impossible.
“Like write a check or cut some vegetables…I couldn’t type on my computer,” Jennifer Stratton said. “If I hear a loud noise in the morning, my tremor might be worse throughout the day.”
What You Need To Know
- UCF Lake Nona Medical Center the 1 hospital in Central Florida to offer the surgery
- Jennifer Stratton has lived with Essential tremors since she was a child
- The condition causes her arms and hands to shake uncontrollably
She's lived with Essential Tremors, or ET, since she was a child, which made her arms and hands shake uncontrollably.
“Just doing household chores, they can’t do all those things,” said Dr. Nizam Razack, who's been a neurosurgeon for 30 years.
He says around 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from ET.
Stratton, like many others, tried medication for years.
“Enough drugs to kill a horse, for sure. I ran the gambit of muscle relaxers to anti-depressants to beta blockers,” she said.
Despite trying various medications, Stratton said she couldn't find one that worked or did not come with severe side effects.
"The next alternative is surgery, open brain surgery,” Stratton said.
Surgery that Dr. Razack says involves drilling a hole into the patient’s skull while they’re awake.
"Yeah some people used to think it’s like medieval torture,” Dr. Razack said.
Stratton got a new alternative when she came to Dr. Razack at the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center this year.
“It uses ultrasound waves…there’s about a thousand of them that all meet at one point, and at that place that’s where the cells that control the patient’s tremor are,” Dr. Razack said.
“There’s no cutting, no pain, no side effects really,” Stratton said.
And the results were immediate. Her tremor stopped in her dominant hand immediately after the procedure.
“I started sobbing, and I was sobbing in the machine…they were like wiping my face, it was so amazing I couldn’t handle it,” Stratton said.
The medical center is the first hospital in Central Florida to offer the procedure, and Dr. Razack says it’s going to attract patients from neighboring states. In fact, it's already happening. Razack says he has a patient coming in from Tennessee in just two weeks.
Stratton counts herself lucky the newly built hospital was only two hours from her house.
“All of that effort and energy and love got poured into me in that moment, and I felt it. It’s amazing, it’s pretty amazing,” Stratton said.
Dr. Razack says the surgery is only performed after a patient has first tried medication.
Stratton says her insurance was able to cover the operation at very little cost to her.