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Volker M. Tronnier and Wolfgang Fogel

✓ Pallidal stereotactic surgery is a well-accepted treatment alternative for Parkinson's disease. Another indication for this procedure is medically refractory dystonia, especially generalized dystonia with abnormal axial and extremity movements and postures. Improvement of dystonia after pallidotomy has been reported in several recent papers. In this report the authors describe three patients with generalized dystonia (two primary, one secondary) and their improvement after bilateral pallidal stimulation at follow-up times of between 6 and 18 months.

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Volker M. Tronnier, Wolfgang Fogel, Martin Kronenbuerger and Sarah Steinvorth

A resurgence of interest in the surgical treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) came with the rediscovery of posteroventral pallidotomy by Laitinen in 1985. Laitinen's procedure improved most symptoms in drug-resistant PD, which engendered wide interest in the neurosurgical community. Another lesioning procedure, ventrolateral thalamotomy, has become a powerful alternative to stimulate the nucleus ventralis intermedius, producing high long-term success rates and low morbidity rates. Pallidal stimulation has not met with the same success. According to the literature pallidotomy improves the “on” symptoms of PD, such as dyskinesias, as well as the “off” symptoms, such as rigidity, bradykinesia, and on-off fluctuations. Pallidal stimulation improves bradykinesia and rigidity to a minor extent; however, its strength seems to be in improving levodopa-induced dyskinesias. Stimulation often produces an improvement in the hyper- or dyskinetic upper limbs, but increases the “freezing” phenomenon in the lower limbs at the same time. Considering the small increase in the patient's independence, the high costs of bilateral implants, and the difficulty most patients experience in handling the devices, the question arises as to whether bilateral pallidal stimulation is a real alternative to pallidotomy.

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Volker M. Tronnier, Wolfgang Fogel, Martin Kronenbuerger and Sarah Steinvorth

A resurgence of interest in the surgical treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) came with the rediscovery of posteroventral pallidotomy by Laitinen in 1985. Laitinen's procedure improved most symptoms in drug-resistant PD, which engendered wide interest in the neurosurgical community. Another lesioning procedure, ventrolateral thalamotomy, has become a powerful alternative to stimulate the nucleus ventralis intermedius, producing high long-term success rates and low morbidity rates. Pallidal stimulation has not met with the same success. According to the literature pallidotomy improves the “on” symptoms of PD, such as dyskinesias, as well as the “off” symptoms, such as rigidity, bradykinesia, and on-off fluctuations. Pallidal stimulation improves bradykinesia and rigidity to a minor extent; however, its strength seems to be in improving levodopa-induced dyskinesias. Stimulation often produces an improvement in the hyper- or dyskinetic upper limbs, but increases the “freezing” phenomenon in the lower limbs at the same time. Considering the small increase in the patient's independence, the high costs of bilateral implants, and the difficulty most patients experience in handling the devices, the question arises as to whether bilateral pallidal stimulation is a real alternative to pallidotomy.

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Ronald F. Young, Volker Tronnier and Patricia C. Rinaldi

✓ Chronic electrical stimulation in the periventricular or periaqueductal gray matter regions and the thalamic somatosensory relay nuclei (ventralis posteromedialis and ventralis posterolateralis) provides long-term pain relief in about 50% of patients with intractable pain refractory to other conservative and/or surgical measures. To enhance the success of electrical stimulation in relief of pain, alternative brain and brain-stem targets have been sought. A series of laboratory studies indicated that the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus and the parabrachial region may provide appropriate alternatives to the “classic” targets. This report describes six patients with intractable chronic pain of nociceptive or central origin, in whom an electrode was stereotactically implanted in the region of the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus. Kölliker-Fuse nucleus stimulation alone or in combination with stimulation in the periaqueductal/periventricular gray matter region or the somatosensory thalamic nuclei provided excellent pain relief in three of the six patients.

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Hans-Holger Capelle, Richard K. Simpson Jr., Martin Kronenbuerger, Jochen Michaelsen, Volker Tronnier and Joachim K. Krauss

Object. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become an accepted therapy for movement disorders such as Parkinson disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET), when these conditions are refractory to medical treatment. The presence of a cardiac pacemaker is still considered a contraindication for DBS in functional neurosurgery. The goal of this study was to evaluate the technical and clinical management of DBS for the treatment of movement disorders in elderly patients with cardiac pacemakers.

Methods. Six patients with cardiac pacemakers underwent clinical and cardiac examinations to analyze the safety of DBS in the treatment of movement disorders. Four patients suffered from advanced PD and two patients had ET. The mean age of these patients at surgery was 69.5 years (range 63–79 years). The settings of the pacemakers were programmed in a manner considered to minimize the chance of interference between the two systems.

There were no adverse events during surgery. Four patients underwent stimulation of the thalamic ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM), and two patients stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus. In general, bipolar sensing was chosen for the cardiac pacemakers. In all but one patient the quadripolar DBS electrodes were programmed for bipolar stimulation. Several control electrocardiography studies, including 24-hour monitoring, did not show any interference between the two systems. At the time this paper was written the patients had been followed up for a mean of 25.3 months (range 4–48 months).

Conclusions. In certain conditions it is safe for patients with cardiac pacemakers to receive DBS for treatment of concomitant movement disorders. Cardiac pacemakers should not be viewed as a general contraindication for DBS in patients with movement disorders.

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Dirk Rasche, Patricia C. Rinaldi, Ronald F. Young and Volker M. Tronnier

Object

Electrical intracerebral stimulation (also referred to as deep brain stimulation [DBS]) is a tool for the treatment of chronic pain states that do not respond to less invasive or conservative treatment options. Careful patient selection, accurate target localization, and identification with intraoperative neurophysiological techniques and blinded test evaluation are the key requirements for success and good long-term results. The authors present their experience with DBS for the treatment of various chronic pain syndromes.

Methods

In this study 56 patients with different forms of neuropathic and mixed nociceptive/neuropathic pain syndromes were treated with DBS according to a rigorous protocol. The postoperative follow-up duration ranged from 1 to 8 years, with a mean of 3.5 years. Electrodes were implanted in the somatosensory thalamus and the periventricular gray region. Before implantation of the stimulation device, a double-blinded evaluation was carefully performed to test the effect of each electrode on its own as well as combined stimulation with different parameter settings.

The best long-term results were attained in patients with chronic low-back and leg pain, for example, in so-called failed–back surgery syndrome. Patients with neuropathic pain of peripheral origin (such as complex regional pain syndrome Type II) also responded well to DBS. Disappointing results were documented in patients with central pain syndromes, such as pain due to spinal cord injury and poststroke pain. Possible reasons for the therapeutic failures are discussed; these include central reorganization and neuroplastic changes of the pain-transmitting pathways and pain modulation centers after brain and spinal cord lesions.

Conclusions

The authors found that, in carefully selected patients with chronic pain syndromes, DBS can be helpful and can add to the quality of life.

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Volker M. Tronnier, Matteo M. Bonsanto, Andreas Staubert, Michael Knauth, Stefan Kunze and Christian R. Wirtz

Object

The authors undertook a study to compare two intraoperative imaging modalities, low-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and a prototype of a three-dimensional (3D)–navigated ultrasonography in terms of imaging quality in lesion detection and intraoperative resection control.

Methods

Low-field MR imaging was used for intraoperative resection control and update of navigational data in 101 patients with supratentorial gliomas. Thirty-five patients with different lesions underwent surgery in which the prototype of a 3D-navigated ultrasonography system was used. A prospective comparative study of both intraoperative imaging modalities was initiated with the first seven cases presented here.

In 35 patients (70%) in whom ultrasonography was performed, accurate tumor delineation was demonstrated prior to tumor resection. In the remaining 30% comparison of preoperative MR imaging data and ultrasonography data allowed sufficient anatomical localization to be achieved. Detection of metastases and high-grade gliomas and intra-operative delineation of tumor remnants were comparable between both imaging modalities. In one case of a low-grade glioma better visibility was achieved with ultrasonography. However, intraoperative findings after resection were still difficult to interpret with ultrasonography alone most likely due to the beginning of a learning curve.

Conclusions

Based on these preliminary results, intraoperative MR imaging remains superior to intraoperative ultrasonography in terms of resection control in glioma surgery. Nevertheless, the different features (different planes of slices, any-plane slicing, and creation of a 3D volume and matching of images) of this new ultrasonography system make this tool a very attractive alternative. The intended study of both imaging modalities will hopefully allow a comparison regarding sensitivity and specificity of intraoperative tumor remnant detection, as well as cost effectiveness.