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Tariq Parker, Ashley L. B. Raghu, James J. FitzGerald, Alexander L. Green, and Tipu Z. Aziz

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of single-target nuclei has produced remarkable functional outcomes in a number of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. While these benefits are well established, DBS efficacy and strategy for unusual, unclassified movement disorder syndromes is less clear. A strategy of dual pallidal and thalamic electrode placement is a rational approach in such cases where there is profound, medically refractory functional impairment. The authors report a series of such cases: midbrain cavernoma hemorrhage with olivary hypertrophy, spinocerebellar ataxia-like disorder of probable genetic origin, Holmes tremor secondary to brainstem stroke, and hemiballismus due to traumatic thalamic hemorrhage, all treated by dual pallidal and thalamic DBS. All patients demonstrated robust benefit from DBS, maintained in long-term follow-up. This series demonstrates the flexibility and efficacy, but also the limitations, of dual thalamo-pallidal stimulation for managing axial and limb symptoms of tremors, dystonia, chorea, and hemiballismus in patients with complex movement disorders.

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Robert J. Coffey

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Ashwin Viswanathan, Viraat Harsh, Erlick A. C. Pereira, and Tipu Z. Aziz

Object

Cingulotomy has been reported in the literature as a potential treatment option for refractory cancer-related pain. However, the optimal candidates for this intervention and the outcomes are not well characterized. The goal of this study was to review the available literature on cingulotomy, specifically for cancer-related pain.

Methods

A search of PubMed, PubMed Central, the Cochrane Library, and MEDLINE was performed to identify all articles discussing cingulotomy for cancer pain. The text strings “cingul*” and “pain” were separated by the Boolean AND operator, and used to perform the query on PubMed. Only studies in which a stereotactic technique was used, as opposed to an open technique, and specifically detailing outcomes for cancer pain were included. For centers with multiple publications, care was taken not to double-count individual patients.

Results

The literature review revealed only 8 unique studies describing outcomes of stereotactic cingulotomy for cancer pain. Between 32% and 83% of patients had meaningful pain relief. The location of the lesion was variable, ranging between 1 cm and 4 cm posterior to the tip of the anterior horn. Although serious adverse events are rare, a decline in focused attention can been seen in the early postoperative period, along with apathy and decreased activity.

Conclusions

For patients with cancer pain with diffuse pain syndromes, head and neck malignancies, and significant emotional distress, cingulotomy may be a safe treatment option with minimal cognitive changes.

Free access

Tariq Parker, Ashley L. B. Raghu, James J. FitzGerald, Alexander L. Green, and Tipu Z. Aziz

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of single-target nuclei has produced remarkable functional outcomes in a number of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. While these benefits are well established, DBS efficacy and strategy for unusual, unclassified movement disorder syndromes is less clear. A strategy of dual pallidal and thalamic electrode placement is a rational approach in such cases where there is profound, medically refractory functional impairment. The authors report a series of such cases: midbrain cavernoma hemorrhage with olivary hypertrophy, spinocerebellar ataxia-like disorder of probable genetic origin, Holmes tremor secondary to brainstem stroke, and hemiballismus due to traumatic thalamic hemorrhage, all treated by dual pallidal and thalamic DBS. All patients demonstrated robust benefit from DBS, maintained in long-term follow-up. This series demonstrates the flexibility and efficacy, but also the limitations, of dual thalamo-pallidal stimulation for managing axial and limb symptoms of tremors, dystonia, chorea, and hemiballismus in patients with complex movement disorders.

Open access

Jason M. Schwalb, Kim J. Burchiel, Parag G. Patil, and Tipu Z. Aziz

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Ashley L. B. Raghu, Sean C. Martin, Tariq Parker, Tipu Z. Aziz, and Alexander L. Green

OBJECTIVE

The anatomy of the posterolateral thalamus varies substantially between individuals, presenting a challenge for surgical targeting. Patient-specific, connectivity-based parcellation of the thalamus may effectively approximate the ventrocaudal nucleus (Vc). This remains to be robustly validated or assessed as a method to guide surgical targeting. The authors assessed the validity of connectivity-based parcellation for targeting the Vc and its potential for improving clinical outcomes of pain surgery.

METHODS

A cohort of 19 patients with regional, chronic neuropathic pain underwent preoperative structural and diffusion MRI, then progressed to deep brain stimulation targeting the Vc based on traditional atlas coordinates. Surgical thalami were retrospectively segmented and then parcellated based on tractography estimates of thalamocortical connectivity. The location of each patient’s electrode array was analyzed with respect to their primary somatosensory cortex (S1) parcel and compared across patients with reference to the thalamic homunculus.

RESULTS

Ten patients achieved long-term pain relief. Sixty-one percent of an average array (interquartile range 42%–74%) was located in the S1 parcel. In patients who achieved long-term benefit from surgery, array location in the individually generated S1 parcels was medial for face pain, centromedial for arm pain, and centrolateral for leg pain. Patients who did not benefit from surgery did not follow this pattern. Standard stereotactic coordinates of electrode locations diverged from this pattern.

CONCLUSIONS

Connectivity-based parcellation of the thalamus appears to be a reliable method for segmenting the Vc. Identifying the Vc in this way, and targeting mediolaterally as appropriate for the region of pain, merits exploration in an effort to increase the yield of successful surgical procedures.

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Kristian J. Bulluss, Erlick A. Pereira, Carole Joint, and Tipu Z. Aziz

Recent publications have demonstrated that deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease still exerts beneficial effects on tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia for up to 10 years after implantation of the stimulator. However with the progression of Parkinson's disease, features such as cognitive decline or “freezing” become prominent, and the presence of an implanted and functioning deep brain stimulator can impose a profound burden of care on the clinical team and family. The authors describe their experience in treating 4 patients who underwent removal of the implanted device due to either progressive dementia requiring full-time nursing or due to infection, and who subsequently underwent a unilateral pallidotomy.

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Helen Smith, Carlolf Joint, David Schlugman, Dipankar Nandi, John F. Stein, and Tipu Z. Aziz

Motor cortex stimulation is increasingly reported in the literature as a surgical option for the alleviation of neuropathic pain. The authors review the published literature and present their results including those demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial that confirmed the efficacy of the procedure. Patient selection and prediction of outcomes, however, remain difficult issues.

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