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Alon Y. Mogilner and Ali R. Rezai

Chronic epidural motor cortex stimulation (MCS) has been shown to have promise in the treatment of patients with refractory deafferentation pain. Precise placement of the electrode over the motor cortex region corresponding to the area of pain is essential for the success of this procedure. Whereas standard anatomical landmarks have been used in the past in conjunction with image guidance, the use of functional brain imaging can be beneficial in the precise surgical planning. The authors report the use of functional imaging–guided frameless stereotactic surgery for epidural MCS. Five patients underwent MCS in which functional imaging guidance was used. Prior to surgery, patients underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with skin fiducial markers placed on standard anatomical reference prints, followed by magnetoencephalography (MEG) mapping of the sensory and motor cortices. In two patients, functional MR imaging was also performed using a motor task paradigm. The functional imaging data were integrated into a frameless stereotactic database by using a three-dimensional coregistration algorithm. Subsequently, a frameless stereotactic craniotomy was performed using the integrated anatomical and functional imaging data for surgical planning. Intraoperative somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and direct stimulation were used to confirm the target and final placement of the electrode.

Direct stimulation and SSEPs performed intraoperatively confirmed the accuracy of the functional imaging data. Trial periods of stimulation successfully reduced pain in three of the five patients who then underwent permanent internal placement of the system. At a mean 6-month follow up, these patients reported an average reduction in pain of 55% on a visual analog scale. The integration of functional and anatomical imaging data allows for precise and efficient surgical planning and may reduce the time necessary for intraoperative physiological verification.

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Michael Paldino, Alon Y. Mogilner and Michael S. Tenner

Intracranial hypotension may have variable clinical presentations, but has a rather uniform component of postural headache among its symptomatology. Its symptoms are explainable given the effects of the hypotension and attempts within the craniospinal axis to maintain volume homeostasis in the face of cerebrospinal fluid leakage (Monro–Kellie hypothesis). The imaging corollaries of the consequences of intracranial hypotension are especially well depicted on magnetic resonance imaging studies.

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Alon Y. Mogilner, Djordje Sterio, Ali R. Rezai, Martin Zonenshayn, Patrick J. Kelly and Aleksandar Beric

Object. A substantial number of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) who have undergone unilateral stereotactic pallidotomy ultimately develop symptom progression, becoming potential candidates for further surgical treatment. Bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a subset of patients with refractory PD. Microelectrode recording is performed to help localize the STN and guide final placement of the electrode. Potential alterations in physiological features of the STN after pallidotomy may complicate localization of this structure in this group of patients.

Methods. Bilateral STN DBS surgery guided by microelectrode recording was performed in six patients who had undergone previous unilateral pallidotomies. Physiologically obtained parameters of the STN, including trajectory length, mean firing rate, cell number, and cell density were calculated. These data were compared with those from the side without prior pallidotomy within each patient, as well as with those from our series of 49 subthalamic nuclei explored in 26 patients who had not undergone prior pallidotomy but who underwent bilateral STN stimulator placement.

In all patients, analysis of STN cellular activity on the side ipsilateral to the pallidotomy demonstrated a lower mean firing frequency than on the contralateral, intact side. The physiological features on the intact side were not significantly different from those found in our series of patients who had not undergone prior pallidotomy.

Conclusions. Physicians who perform STN surgery in patients with prior pallidotomy should be aware of the electrophysiological differences between the STN that had undergone pallidotomy and the one that had not, to avoid prolonging recording time to search for the typical STN. The implications of these findings for the current models of information processing in the basal ganglia are discussed.

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Michael H. Pourfar, Chris C. Tang, Alon Y. Mogilner, Vijay Dhawan and David Eidelberg

The frequency with which patients with atypical parkinsonism and advanced motor symptoms undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures is unknown. However, the potential exposure of these patients to unnecessary surgical risks makes their identification critical. As many as 15% of patients enrolled in recent early Parkinson disease (PD) trials have been found to lack evidence of a dopaminergic deficit following PET or SPECT imaging. This suggests that a number of patients with parkinsonism who are referred for DBS may not have idiopathic PD. The authors report on 2 patients with probable psychogenic parkinsonism who presented for DBS surgery. They found that both patients had normal caudate and putamen [18F]-fluorodopa uptake on PET imaging, along with normal expression of specific disease-related metabolic networks for PD and multiple system atrophy, a common form of atypical neurodegenerative parkinsonism. The clinical and PET findings in these patients highlight the role of functional imaging in assisting clinical decision making when the diagnosis is uncertain.

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Richard S. Dowd, Michael Pourfar and Alon Y. Mogilner

OBJECTIVE

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by multiple motor and phonic tics. While pharmacological and behavioral therapy can be effective in most patients, a subset of patients remains refractory to treatment. Increasing clinical evidence from multiple centers suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the medial thalamus can be effective in many cases of refractory TS.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 13 patients with refractory TS who underwent medial thalamic DBS performed by their team over a 7-year period. Patients were evaluated by a multidisciplinary team, and preoperative objective assessments were performed using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. YGTSS scores were calculated at visits immediately postoperatively and at the most recent follow-up in patients with a minimum of 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Coordinates of the active DBS contacts were calculated and projected onto each patient's pre- and postoperative images.

RESULTS

Patients showed an average decrease of 37% (p = 0.0063) in the total tic severity at their first postoperative visit. At their latest visit, their scores achieved significance, decreasing from preoperative scores by an average of 50% (p = 0.0014). The average position of the active contact was noted to be at the junction of the posterior ventralis oralis internus/centromedian-parafascicular nuclei. Device-related complications occurred in 2 patients, necessitating additional surgeries. All patients continued to use the system at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' data are consistent with the small but growing body of literature supporting DBS of the ventralis oralis internus/centromedian-parafascicular thalamus as an effective and relatively safe treatment for severe, refractory TS.

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Kalman Katlowitz, Mia Ko, Alon Y. Mogilner and Michael Pourfar

OBJECTIVE

The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the treatment of Parkinson disease (PD)–related tremor has been well established. However, the relative impact on arm, leg, and chin tremor has been less clearly elucidated. The authors evaluated the distribution of tremors in a PD cohort undergoing STN DBS and sought to evaluate the differential impact of DBS as a function of tremor location.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients with PD with tremor who underwent DBS surgery between 2012 and 2016 was performed to evaluate the impact of STN stimulation on overall and regional tremor scores.

RESULTS

Across 66 patients the authors found an average of 78% overall reduction in tremor after 6 months. In this cohort, the authors found that tremor reduction was somewhat better for arm than for leg tremors, especially in instances of higher preoperative tremor (84% vs 71% reduction, respectively, for initial tremor scores ≥ 2). No significant difference in response was found between patients with medication-responsive versus medication-nonresponsive tremors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that although DBS improved tremor in all regions, the improvement was not uniform between chin, arm, and leg—even within the same patient. The reasons behind these differing responses are speculative but suggest that STN DBS may more reliably reduce arm tremors than leg tremors.

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Deborah L. Benzil, Mehran Saboori, Alon Y. Mogilner, Ronald Rocchio and Chitti R. Moorthy

Object. The extension of stereotactic radiosurgery treatment of tumors of the spine has the potential to benefit many patients. As in the early days of cranial stereotactic radiosurgery, however, dose-related efficacy and toxicity are not well understood. The authors report their initial experience with stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine with attention to dose, efficacy, and toxicity.

Methods. All patients who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine were treated using the Novalis unit at Westchester Medical Center between December 2001 and January 2004 are included in a database consisting of demographics on disease, dose, outcome, and complications. A total of 31 patients (12 men, 19 women; mean age 61 years, median age 63 years) received treatment for 35 tumors. Tumor types included 26 metastases (12 lung, nine breast, five other) and nine primary tumors (four intradural, five extradural). Thoracic tumors were most common (17 metastases and four primary) followed by lumbar tumors (four metastases and four primary). Lesions were treated to the 85 to 90% isodose line with spinal cord doses being less than 50%. The dose per fraction and total dose were selected on the basis of previous treatment (particularly radiation exposure), size of lesion, and proximity to critical structures.

Conclusions. Rapid and significant pain relief was achieved after stereotactic radiosurgery in 32 of 34 treated tumors. In patients treated for metastases, pain was relieved within 72 hours and remained reduced 3 months later. Pain relief was achieved with a single dose as low as 500 cGy. Spinal cord isodoses were less than 50% in all patients except those with intradural tumors (mean single dose to spinal cord 268 cGy and mean total dose to spinal cord 689 cGy). Two patients experienced transient radiculitis (both with a biological equivalent dose (BED) > 60 Gy). One patient who suffered multiple recurrences of a conus ependymoma had permanent neurological deterioration after initial improvement. Pathological evaluation of this lesion at surgery revealed radiation necrosis with some residual/recurrent tumor. No patient experienced other organ toxicity.

Stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine is safe at the doses used and provides effective pain relief. In this study, BEDs greater than 60 Gy were associated with an increased risk of radiculitis.