Stanford Essential Tremor Program

Essential Tremor (ET) is a common but under-diagnosed brain disorder that causes trembling in the arms, legs, head, and/or voice. While the symptoms of ET can sometimes be helped by medications, they may cause side effects or fail to completely control the tremors. Patients who continue to have tremor despite medication treatment are often eligible for interventional treatments that can be much more effective than medication. At Stanford, we offer both surgical and non-invasive treatments. Our surgeons are experts in the treatment of movement disorders and are at the forefront of using new technologies such as focused ultrasound and deep brain stimulation to successfully treat patients with Essential Tremor.

Our Team

Jaimie Henderson, MD
John and Jene Blume-Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor of Neurosurgery, and Professor, by Courtesy, of Neurology

Vivek P. Buch, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology (General Radiology) and, by Courtesy, of Neurosurgery

Scott G. Soltys, MD
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapy)

C. Kwang Sung, MD, MS
Assistant Professsor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (Laryngology)

Jennifer A. McNab, PhD
Assistant Professor (Research) of Radiology (Radiological Sciences Laboratory)

Kim Butts Pauly, PhD
Professor of Radiology (General Radiology) and, by Courtesy, of Electrical Engineering

Max Wintermark, MD, MBA
Professor of Radiology (General Radiology) and, by Courtesy, of Neurology, of Neurosurgery and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 

Elizabeth DiRenzo, MS, PhD
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (Laryngology)

Traci Hornbeck, PA-C
Physician Assistant

Erika A. Lim, BSN, RN, CMSRN
Nurse Coordinator

Rachelle Bitton, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Our Patient Stories

For Ray, a pipefitter welder, having steady hands is key to his job. His tremors in both hands impacted his ability not only to weld, but to do everyday tasks like writing or doing things with his children. When his tremors worsened and could no longer be controlled by medication, he came to Stanford Health Care and chose to undergo MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) treatment. Watch to hear Ray and his health care team describe how this incisionless procedure that uses ultrasound waves to treat tremors gave him his life back.

Beverly McGowan, a Nurse Practitioner, received MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound treatment for essential tremor symptoms in the right upper extremity, at Stanford. In this personal video journal, McGowan shares symptoms of the condition affecting her daily activites prior to treatment, including results of neurological testing, and results of symptom relief immediately following procedure up through 8 days post-procedure.

Treatment Options

Focused Ultrasound 

MR Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) precisely targets high intensity ultrasound waves through the skull to a nucleus in the thalamus, an area of the brain responsible for causing tremors. MRgFUS treatment results in an immediate, significant, and durable reduction of tremor. 

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a minimally-invasive, non-destructive and reversible technique that can help significantly reduce the symptoms of Essential Tremor. At Stanford, we are only among a handful of West Coast neurosurgeons performing DBS implantation and monitoring to treat movement disorders and chronic pain.


Invented at Stanford, CyberKnife treats a variety of conditions with high-dose radiation therapy. This highly technologically-advanced form of radiosurgery uses computer technology that allows doctors to deliver radiation with unprecedented precision, meaning it treats only the affected area while protecting healthy tissue.