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Eur Radiol. 2006 Oct;16(10):2229-33. Epub 2006 Apr 20.

Functional MRI for immediate monitoring stereotactic thalamotomy in a patient with essential tremor.

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Department of Radiology, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Strasse 9, 50924, Cologne, Germany.


The effect of stereotactic thalamotomy was assessed with pre- and postoperative functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) under motor stimulation. A patient with unilateral essential tremor (ET) of the left arm underwent stereotactically guided thalamotomy of the right ventral intermediate thalamic nucleus (VIM). FMRI was done directly before and after surgery on a 1.5-Tesla scanner. The stimulation paradigm was maintainance of the affected arm in an extended position and hand clenching being performed in a block design manner. Statistical analysis was done with Brain Voyager 2000. After thalamotomy the tremor diminished completely. As a difference between the pre- and postoperative fMRI, a significant activation was found in the VIM contralateral to the activation site, adjacent to the inferior olivary nucleus contralateral to the activation site and in the dorsal cingulum. In conclusion, fMRI can detect the functional effect of thalamotomy for tremor treatment. Direct postoperative fMRI provides a sufficient method for estimating the effect of thalamotomy immediately after intervention. The importance of the intermediate thalamic nucleus and the olivary nucleus in tremor generation is supported by our findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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