Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
Patients whose symptoms are well managed by drugs are not recommended for surgery, and significant effort will usually be made to adjust medications to control symptoms before surgery is considered.
Thalamotomy, surgery to the thalamus, was recommended...
in the past to control tremor. It is rarely performed today, and few centers would consider thalamotomy for any patient unless tremor was the only troubling and uncontrolled symptom.
Deep-brain stimulation (DBS) of the GPi is an alternative treatment in widespread use, as is DBS of another brain region, the subthalamic nucleus. Both procedures use permanemtly implanted, programmable electrodes to deliver a very small, continuous electric current to the target region. This has the same effect as a lesion, but is adjustable. DBS of the subthalamic nucleus typically produces better symtomatic results that either DBS to the GPi or pallidotomy. However, both forms of DBS carry the risk of long-term complications from the implanted hardware, as well as other risks.
Pallidotomy is a procedure where a tiny electrical probe is placed in the globus pallidus (one of the basal ganglia of the brain), which is then heated to 80 degrees celsius for 60 s, to destroy a small area of brain cells. Pallidotomy is used to treat dyskinesias in patients with Parkinson's disease.
More than 60 percent of procedures neurosurgeons perform are spine-related, according to the National Neurosurgical Procedural Statistics 2006 Survey from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
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