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  • Author or Editor: Kim J. Burchiel x
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Kim J. Burchiel and Thomas K. Baumann

✓ The origin of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) appears to be vascular compression of the trigeminal nerve at the root entry zone; however, the physiological mechanism of this disorder remains uncertain. The authors obtained intraoperative microneurographic recordings from trigeminal ganglion neurons in a patient with TN immediately before percutaneous radiofrequency-induced gangliolysis. Their findings are consistent with the idea that the pain of TN is generated, at least in part, by an abnormal discharge within the peripheral nervous system.

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Treatment of hemiballismus with stereotactic pallidotomy

Case report and review of the literature

Konstantin V. Slavin, Thomas K. Baumann and Kim J. Burchiel

Hemiballismus is a relatively rare movement disorder that is characterized by uncontrolled, random, large-amplitude movements of the limbs. It is usually caused by a vascular lesion that involves the contralateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) (also known as the nucleus hypothalamicus or corpus luysi) and its afferent and efferent pathways.

The authors present a case of medically intractable hemiballismus in a 70-year-old woman who was successfully treated with stereotactic posteroventral pallidotomy. In agreement with the data reported earlier by other groups, the microrecording performed during the pallidotomy showed a decreased rate of firing of the pallidal neurons, supporting the theory of impaired excitatory input from the STN to the internal part of the globus pallidus.

Stereotactic pallidotomy may be the procedure of choice in the treatment of medically intractable hemiballismus. Intraoperative microrecording significantly improves the precision of the stereotactic targeting and should be considered a standard part of the pallidotomy protocol.

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Jamal M. Taha, Jacques Favre, Thomas K. Baumann and Kim J. Burchiel

✓ The goals of this study were to analyze the effect of pallidotomy on parkinsonian tremor and to ascertain whether an association exists between microrecording findings and tremor outcome.

Forty-four patients with Parkinson's disease who had drug-induced dyskinesia, bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor underwent posteroventral pallidotomy. Using a 1-µ-tip tungsten electrode, microrecordings were obtained through one to three tracts, starting 10 mm above the pallidal base. Tremor severity was measured on a patient-rated, 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS), both preoperatively and 3 to 9 months (mean 6 months) postoperatively.

Preoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in 24 patients (55%) and as less than 25 mm in 13 patients (30%). Postoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in five patients (11%) and less than 25 mm in 29 patients (66%). The difference was significant (p = 0.0001). Four patients (9%) had no postoperative tremor. Tremor improved by at least 50% in eight (80%) of 10 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were recorded (Group A) and in 12 (35%) of 34 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were not recorded (Group B). This difference was significant (p = 0.03). Tremor improved by at least 50 mm in all (100%) of the seven Group A patients with severe (≥ 50 mm) preoperative tremor and in nine (53%) of 17 Group B patients with severe preoperative tremor. This difference was also significant (p = 0.05).

The authors proffer two conclusions: 1) after pallidotomy, tremor improves by at least 50% in two-thirds of patients with Parkinson's disease who have severe (≥ 50 mm on the VAS) preoperative tremor; and 2) better tremor control is obtained when tremor-synchronous cells are included in the lesion.

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Jamal M. Taha, Jacques Favre, Thomas K. Baumann and Kim J. Burchiel

The goals of this study were to analyze the effect of pallidotomy on parkinsonian tremor and to ascertain whether an association exists between microrecording findings and tremor outcome.

Forty-four patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) who had drug-induced dyskinesia, bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor underwent posteroventral pallidotomy. Using a 1-μ-tip tungsten electrode, microrecordings were obtained through one to three tracts, starting 10 mm above the pallidal base. Tremor severity was measured on a patient-rated, 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS), both preoperatively and 3 to 9 months (mean 6 months) postoperatively.

Preoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in 24 patients (55%) and as less than 25 mm in 13 patients (30%). Postoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in five patients (11%) and less than 25 mm in 29 patients (66%). The difference was significant (p = 0.0001). Four patients (9%) had no postoperative tremor. Tremor improved by at least 50% in eight (80%) of 10 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were recorded (Group A) and in 12 (35%) of 34 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were not recorded (Group B). This difference was significant (p = 0.03). Tremor improved by at least 50 mm in all (100%) of the seven Group A patients with severe (>= 50 mm) preoperative tremor and in nine (53%) of 17 Group B patients with severe preoperative tremor. This difference was also significant (p = 0.05).

The authors proffer two conclusions: 1) after pallidotomy, tremor improves by at least 50% in two-thirds of patients with PD who have severe (>= 50 mm on the VAS) preoperative tremor; and 2) better tremor control is obtained when tremor-synchronous cells are included in the lesion.

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Jamal M. Taha, Jacques Favre, Thomas K. Baumann and Kim J. Burchiel

✓ Information is limited on the characteristics and topographic localization of pallidal kinesthetic cells in patients with Parkinson's disease. The authors analyzed the data from 298 neurons recorded in 38 patients with Parkinson's disease who underwent pallidotomy via microrecording techniques. Sixty-five neurons (22%) responded to passive movement of contralateral limbs. Of 17 kinesthetic cells that were tested in six patients, seven (41%) responded to ipsilateral limb movement as well. Nineteen cells (6%) fired synchronously with tremor. More kinesthetic cells were activated (63%) than inhibited (28%) by movement of single (68%) rather than multiple (32%) joints, and proximal (75%) rather than distal (25%) joints. The lateral globus pallidus externus (GPe) and medial globus pallidus internus (GPi) pallidal segments contained similar proportions of kinesthetic cells, activated or inhibited cells, arm- or leg-activated cells, and cells responding to single or multiple joints. Significantly more kinesthetic cells that responded to distal joints were recorded in GPi compared to GPe segments (p = 0.01). Arm and leg cells had similar characteristics pertaining to activation versus inhibition and responses to single, multiple, proximal, or distal joint movements. Arm and leg cells were somatotopically organized in GPi. Arm cells were clustered at the rostral and caudal segments of GPi and leg cells were clustered centrally. In GPe, leg cells were clustered at the caudal border. No somatotopic organization was identified for activated or inhibited cells; cells that responded to single, multiple, proximal, or distal joints; tremor-synchronous cells; or cells responding to specific joints within somatotopic arm or leg cells. It is concluded that kinesthetic cells provide a roadmap that localizes limb cells during pallidotomy. More studies are needed to identify the clinical significance of the different characteristics of kinesthetic cells.