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Marc N. Gallay, David Moser, and Daniel Jeanmonod

OBJECTIVE

In addition to the well-recognized ventral intermediate nucleus (Vim) thalamotomy for the treatment of chronic therapy-resistant essential tremor (ET), an alternative approach targeting the posterior part of the subthalamus was proposed in the 1960s and early 1970s and then was reactualized as cerebellothalamic tractotomy (CTT) with the advent of MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) surgery. The goal of this study was to improve target coverage and thus efficacy (i.e., tremor control and its consistency). The authors undertook a histological reappraisal of the CTT target and proposed a targeting strategy of the MRgFUS CTT based on 1) the MR visualization of the center of the red nucleus and 2) the application of preplanned target subunits realized with short sonications under thermal dose control. This study was aimed at demonstrating the efficacy and risk profile of this approach against chronic therapy-resistant ET.

METHODS

Ten consecutive patients suffering from chronic therapy-resistant ET benefited from a unilateral MRgFUS CTT and were followed over the course of 1 year. Primary endpoints were subjective tremor relief, Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST) score, activities of daily living (ADL) score, and the hand function (HF) scores HF16 and HF32. Histological reappraisal of the target led the authors to propose a standardized targeting protocol for MRgFUS CTT. Thermal doses for 18 and 240 cumulative equivalent minutes at 43°C were calculated and correlated with intraoperative and 2 days postoperative T2-weighted MR images.

RESULTS

The mean ± SD for the baseline CRST score was 48 ± 12; the score was 16 ± 7 at 3 months, and 17 ± 8 at 1 year. The mean tremor relief rated by the patients for the operated side was 95% after 2 days, 96% at 3 months, and 93% at 1 year. The mean HF16 was 11.0 ± 2.1 at baseline, 0.7 ± 0.7 at 3 months, and 0.8 ± 0.9 at 1 year (93% mean reduction). The minimum reduction for the HF16 at 1 year was 78%. There was a 51% reduction of the mean ADL score at 1 year. There was no bleeding or infection. Gait difficulties, only detectable on tandem gait, were increased in 3 patients and reduced in 2 patients at 1 year. There was no dysarthria.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results suggest that MRgFUS CTT is a very effective treatment option for therapy-resistant ET.

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Marc N. Gallay, David Moser, and Daniel Jeanmonod

OBJECTIVE

Since the first clinical application of the incisionless magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology only small series of patients have been reported, and thus only extrapolations of the procedure-related risks could be offered. In this study, the authors analyze side-effects and targeting accuracy in 180 consecutive treatments with MRgFUS for chronic therapy-resistant idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD), essential tremor (ET), cerebellar tremor (CT), and neuropathic pain (NP), all performed in their dedicated center.

METHODS

A total of 180 treatments with MRgFUS for chronic therapy-resistant idiopathic PD, ET, CT, and NP were prospectively assessed for side-effects and targeting accuracy. Monitoring for later side-effects was continued for at least 3 months after the procedure in all but 1 case (0.6%); in that single case, the patient was lost to follow-up after an uneventful early postoperative course. The surgical targets were the pallidothalamic tract (pallidothalamic tractotomy, n = 105), the cerebellothalamic tract (cerebellothalamic tractotomy, n = 50), the central lateral nucleus (central lateral thalamotomy, n = 84), the centrum medianum (centrum medianum thalamotomy, n = 12), and the globus pallidus (pallidotomy, n = 2). Cognitive testing was performed before, 1–2 days after, and 1 year after the procedure. The Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used for the first 29 cases and was then replaced by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Lesion reconstruction and measurement of targeting accuracy were done on 2-day posttreatment MR images for each performed target. To determine targeting accuracy measurement, 234 out of the 253 lesions depicted in the 2-day postoperative MR examination could be 3D-reconstructed.

RESULTS

The mean MoCA score was slightly improved 2 days postoperatively (p = 0.002) and remained stable at 1-year follow-up (p = 0.03). The mean MMSE score was also slightly improved 2 days postoperatively and at 1-year follow-up, but the improvement was not statistically significant (p = 0.06 and p = 0.2, respectively). The mean (± SD) accuracy was 0.32 ± 0.29 mm, 0.29 ± 0.28 mm, and 0.44 ± 0.39 mm for the mediolateral, anteroposterior, and dorsoventral dimensions, respectively. The mean 3D accuracy was 0.73 ± 0.39 mm. As to side-effects, 14 events over 180 treatments were documented. They were classified into procedure-related (n = 4, 2.2%), effect on neighboring structures (n = 3, 1.7%), and disease-related (n = 7, 3.9%). There was no bleeding.

CONCLUSIONS

The incisionless transcranial MRgFUS technology demonstrates a higher targeting accuracy and a lower side-effect profile than techniques requiring cerebral penetration. In the absence of penetration brain shift, this technique avoids the placement of a thermolesion away from the chosen target, thus suppressing the need for reversible therapeutic energy application. With the use of proper physiopathology-based targets, definitive therapeutic effects can be coupled with sparing of sensory, motor, and paralimbic/multimodal thalamocortical functions. Clinical efficacy, not analyzed in this investigation, will ultimately rest in proper target selection and optimized thermolesional coverage of the target.

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Marc N. Gallay, David Moser, and Daniel Jeanmonod

OBJECTIVE

Since the first clinical application of the incisionless magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology only small series of patients have been reported, and thus only extrapolations of the procedure-related risks could be offered. In this study, the authors analyze side-effects and targeting accuracy in 180 consecutive treatments with MRgFUS for chronic therapy-resistant idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD), essential tremor (ET), cerebellar tremor (CT), and neuropathic pain (NP), all performed in their dedicated center.

METHODS

A total of 180 treatments with MRgFUS for chronic therapy-resistant idiopathic PD, ET, CT, and NP were prospectively assessed for side-effects and targeting accuracy. Monitoring for later side-effects was continued for at least 3 months after the procedure in all but 1 case (0.6%); in that single case, the patient was lost to follow-up after an uneventful early postoperative course. The surgical targets were the pallidothalamic tract (pallidothalamic tractotomy, n = 105), the cerebellothalamic tract (cerebellothalamic tractotomy, n = 50), the central lateral nucleus (central lateral thalamotomy, n = 84), the centrum medianum (centrum medianum thalamotomy, n = 12), and the globus pallidus (pallidotomy, n = 2). Cognitive testing was performed before, 1–2 days after, and 1 year after the procedure. The Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used for the first 29 cases and was then replaced by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Lesion reconstruction and measurement of targeting accuracy were done on 2-day posttreatment MR images for each performed target. To determine targeting accuracy measurement, 234 out of the 253 lesions depicted in the 2-day postoperative MR examination could be 3D-reconstructed.

RESULTS

The mean MoCA score was slightly improved 2 days postoperatively (p = 0.002) and remained stable at 1-year follow-up (p = 0.03). The mean MMSE score was also slightly improved 2 days postoperatively and at 1-year follow-up, but the improvement was not statistically significant (p = 0.06 and p = 0.2, respectively). The mean (± SD) accuracy was 0.32 ± 0.29 mm, 0.29 ± 0.28 mm, and 0.44 ± 0.39 mm for the mediolateral, anteroposterior, and dorsoventral dimensions, respectively. The mean 3D accuracy was 0.73 ± 0.39 mm. As to side-effects, 14 events over 180 treatments were documented. They were classified into procedure-related (n = 4, 2.2%), effect on neighboring structures (n = 3, 1.7%), and disease-related (n = 7, 3.9%). There was no bleeding.

CONCLUSIONS

The incisionless transcranial MRgFUS technology demonstrates a higher targeting accuracy and a lower side-effect profile than techniques requiring cerebral penetration. In the absence of penetration brain shift, this technique avoids the placement of a thermolesion away from the chosen target, thus suppressing the need for reversible therapeutic energy application. With the use of proper physiopathology-based targets, definitive therapeutic effects can be coupled with sparing of sensory, motor, and paralimbic/multimodal thalamocortical functions. Clinical efficacy, not analyzed in this investigation, will ultimately rest in proper target selection and optimized thermolesional coverage of the target.

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David Moser, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, and Daniel Jeanmonod

The object of this study was to describe a method of measuring targeting accuracy in functional neurosurgery using MR imaging and the Stereotactic Atlas of the Human Thalamus and Basal Ganglia. This method should be useful for any functional procedure using these tools or similar ones, and is described here in the specific context of focused ultrasound surgery. The authors describe the atlas coordinate system used, the different relevant targeting and accuracy definitions, the tools used, the intraoperative target determination, the postoperative target reconstructions, and the calculation of the therapeutic lesion volume. The proposed method has been applied to the specific situation of measuring targeting accuracy in focused ultrasound functional neurosurgery. The authors found mean absolute global targeting accuracies between 0.54 and 0.72 mm (SDs between 0.34 and 0.42 mm), with 85% of measured coordinates within 1 mm. The proposed method may be particularly useful in the context of functional neurosurgical procedures implying therapeutic ablations, be they through radiofrequency, focused ultrasound, or any other technique. This method allows an ongoing control of the targeting precision, a basic requirement in any functional neurosurgical procedure.

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Daniel Jeanmonod, Beat Werner, Anne Morel, Lars Michels, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, and Ernst Martin

Object

Recent technological developments open the field of therapeutic application of focused ultrasound to the brain through the intact cranium. The goal of this study was to apply the new transcranial magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (tcMRgFUS) technology to perform noninvasive central lateral thalamotomies (CLTs) as a treatment for chronic neuropathic pain.

Methods

In 12 patients suffering from chronic therapy-resistant neuropathic pain, tcMRgFUS CLT was proposed. In 11 patients, precisely localized thermal ablations of 3–4 mm in diameter were produced in the posterior part of the central lateral thalamic nucleus at peak temperatures between 51°C and 64°C with the aid of real-time patient monitoring and MR imaging and MR thermometry guidance. The treated neuropathic pain syndromes had peripheral (5 patients) or central (6 patients) origins and covered all body parts (face, arm, leg, trunk, and hemibody).

Results

Patients experienced mean pain relief of 49% at the 3-month follow-up (9 patients) and 57% at the 1-year follow-up (8 patients). Mean improvement according to the visual analog scale amounted to 42% at 3 months and 41% at 1 year. Six patients experienced immediate and persisting somatosensory improvements. Somatosensory and vestibular clinical manifestations were always observed during sonication time because of ultrasound-based neuronal activation and/or initial therapeutic effects. Quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) showed a significant reduction in EEG spectral overactivities. Thermal ablation sites showed sharply delineated ellipsoidal thermolesions surrounded by short-lived vasogenic edema. Lesion reconstructions (18 lesions in 9 patients) demonstrated targeting precision within a millimeter for all 3 coordinates. There was 1 complication, a bleed in the target with ischemia in the motor thalamus, which led to the introduction of 2 safety measures, that is, the detection of a potential cavitation by a cavitation detector and the maintenance of sonication temperatures below 60°C.

Conclusions

The authors assert that tcMRgFUS represents a noninvasive, precise, and radiation-free neurosurgical technique for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The procedure avoids mechanical brain tissue shift and eliminates the risk of infection. The possibility of applying sonication thermal spots free from trajectory restrictions should allow one to optimize target coverage. The real-time continuous MR imaging and MR thermometry monitoring of targeting accuracy and thermal effects are major factors in optimizing precision, safety, and efficacy in an outpatient context.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010

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Daniel Jeanmonod and Marc Sindou

✓ The goal of this study was to assess the effects of the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesioning procedure, microsurgical DREZ-otomy (MDT), on spinal cord somatosensory function based on peri- and intraoperative clinical and electrophysiological data. The study was performed prospectively on a series of 20 patients suffering from either chronic neurogenic pain or spasticity. Physiological observations were made of the intraoperative evoked electrospinographic recordings as collected from the surface of the spinal cord.

The MDT procedure produced analgesia or severe hypalgesia, moderate hypesthesia, and only slight deficits in proprioception and cutaneous spatial discrimination on the body segments operated on. These clinical data correlated well with evoked electrospinographic recordings, which showed a moderate effect of MDT on presynaptic compound action potentials recorded from the spinal cord (N11 and N21), a partial or even reversible effect on the cortical postcentral N20 wave, a more marked effect on the postsynaptic dorsal horn waves N13 and N24 related to large primary afferent fibers, and a disappearance of dorsal horn waves related to finer afferents (N2 and possibly N3). These data provide evidence for an acceptably selective action of MDT on spinal cord nociceptive mechanisms, and for a partial, often slight, involvement of the other somatosensory domains. The presence of abnormal evoked electrospinographic waves is discussed in relation to the mechanisms of neurogenic pain and spasticity. The hypothesis of a “retuning” of the dorsal horn as the mode of action of MDT is presented.