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Ashwin Viswanathan and Kim J. Burchiel

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Jorge L. Eller, Ahmed M. Raslan and Kim J. Burchiel

Based on specific, objective, and reproducible criteria, a classification scheme for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and related facial pain syndromes is proposed. Such a classification scheme is based on information provided in the patient's history and incorporates seven diagnostic criteria, as follows. 1) and 2) Trigeminal neuralgia Types 1 and 2 (TN1 and TN2) refer to idiopathic, spontaneous facial pain that is either predominantly episodic (as in TN1) or constant (as in TN2) in nature. 3) Trigeminal neuropathic pain results from unintentional injury to the trigeminal nerve from trauma or surgery. 4) Trigeminal deafferentation pain results from intentional injury to the nerve by peripheral nerve ablation, gangliolysis, or rhizotomy in an attempt to treat either TN or other related facial pain. 5) Symptomatic TN results from multiple sclerosis. 6) Postherpetic TN follows a cutaneous herpes zoster outbreak in the trigeminal distribution. 7) The category of atypical facial pain is reserved for facial pain secondary to a somatoform pain disorder and requires psychological testing for diagnostic confirmation. The purpose of a classification scheme like this is to advocate a more rigorous, standardized natural history and outcome studies for TN and related facial pain syndromes.

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Eric M. Thompson, Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

For confirming the correct location of the radiofrequency electrode before creation of a lesion, percutaneous CT-guided trigeminal tractotomy–nucleotomy is most commonly performed with the patient prone and awake. However, for patients whose facial pain and hypersensitivity are so severe that the patients are unable to rest their face on a support (as required with prone positioning), awake CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy might not be feasible. The authors describe 2 such patients, for whom percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy under general anesthesia was successful. One patient was a 79-year-old man with profound left facial postherpetic neuralgia, who was unable to tolerate awake CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy, and the other was a 45-year-old woman with intractable hemicranial pain that developed after a right frontal lesionectomy for epilepsy. Each patient underwent a percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy under general anesthesia. No complications occurred, and each patient reported excellent pain relief for up to 6 and 3 months after surgery, respectively. Percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy performed on anesthetized patients is effective for facial postherpetic neuralgia and postoperative hemicranial neuralgia.

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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 (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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Konstantin V. Slavin, Randall R. Nixon, Gary M. Nesbit and Kim J. Burchiel

The authors present the case of a patient in whom progressive thoracic myelopathy was caused by the extensive ossification of the arachnoid membrane and associated intramedullary syrinx. Based on their findings and the results of a literature search, they describe a pathological basis of this rare condition, discuss its incidence and symptomatology, and suggest a simple classification of various types of the arachnoid ossification. They also discuss magnetic resonance imaging features of arachnoid ossification and associated spinal cord changes. Emphasis is placed on the particular value of plain computerized tomography, which is highly sensitive for detecting intraspinal calcifications and ossifications, in the diagnostic evaluation of patients whose clinical picture indicates progressive myelopathy.