Indy man back to fishing thanks to successful procedure at IU Health

Essential tremors have been a challenge for Rick Brandes for the past three decades. The genetic disorder causes uncontrollable shaking in specific muscle groups, leading to embarrassing moments and loss of activities he loved. But after seeking help from his neurosurgeon at IU Health, Brandes discovered a potential solution through the Focused Ultrasound procedure.

Dr. Thomas Whitt, Brandes’ neurosurgeon, brought the non-invasive technique to Indianapolis in August 2023 to assist patients with essential tremors. The procedure involves using a metal frame and ultrasound waves guided by the frame to target and destroy specific cells causing tremors, reducing symptoms while minimizing side effects.

Brandes underwent the Focused Ultrasound procedure and experienced significant improvements in his condition. The treatment has been successful in alleviating his tremors, with minimal side effects such as numbness around the mouth. Brandes expressed how transformative the treatment has been for him, allowing him to pursue activities like fishing without the hindrance of tremors for the first time in years.

With newfound confidence and stability in his hands, Brandes is excited about the prospect of fishing without tremors. Owning a fishing boat for four years, he looks forward to relishing the experience of casting a line without interference of shaky hands, allowing him to reconnect with his passion and enjoy moments of peace and joy on the water.

The Focused Ultrasound procedure offers hope for individuals with essential tremors who are looking for an effective solution that is non-invasive and has minimal side effects. With this new technology available at IU Health, patients can now seek help and find relief from their symptoms while pursuing activities they love without limitations.

Overall, Rick Brandes’ story serves as an inspiration for others who may be struggling with essential tremors or other conditions that affect their confidence or ability to engage in activities they love. With perseverance and support from healthcare professionals like Dr. Whitt at IU Health, individuals can find solutions that improve their quality of life and allow them to fully enjoy all aspects of life without limitations or fear.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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