Object. The treatment of Parkinson disease and other kinds of involuntary movement by gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) is presented. This is an extension of previous work. The clinical course and thalamic lesions were the main factors examined.
Methods. Seventeen new cases were added to the previously reported 36 cases. The course and results for the whole series of 53 patients were examined. Treatment was undertaken using a single 4-mm collimator shot to deliver 130 Gy to the target. The target was determined in the previously treated patients by using classic methods involved in conventional stereotactic thalamotomy with microrecording. More recently, target localization has been performed by relating the target point to the total length of the thalamus. Points may then be defined as percentages of that length measured from the anterior pole. Targets can then be determined in relationship to the appropriate percentage.
Thirty-five patients have been followed for more than 2 years and the longest follow up was 8 years. Two kinds of thalamic lesion were seen after GKS. Volumetric analysis on MR imaging revealed that the larger lesion was 400 to 500 mm3 at the beginning and gradually decreased in size. The smaller lesion occupied approximately 200 mm3 and also shrank over several months. Eighty percent of the treated cases showed good results and no significant complications, with the tremor subsiding at 1 year (Type 1). Several cases deviated from this standard course in four different ways (Types 2–5). If tremor persisted, conventional stereotactic thalamotomy with microrecording was performed. During such operations, normal neuronal activity was recorded from the region adjacent to the GKS thalamotomy target. This was the region showing a high signal on MR imaging. The activity patterns included the rhythmical grouped discharge of tremor rhythm.
Conclusions. Gamma thalamotomy for functional disorders is still under development, but because the results with careful target planning are satisfactory, there are grounds for increasing optimism.