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J Neurosurg. 1996 Aug;85(2):278-86.

Functional stereotactic surgery for hemiballism.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Hospital, Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt, Freiburg, Germany.


The symptomatic and functional outcomes of a series of 14 patients with disabling and medically refractory hemiballism who were treated with functional stereotactic surgery are reported. Seven (50%) of the 14 patients had concomitant hemichorea. To relieve the hyperkinesia, the 14 patients underwent a total of 15 stereotactic operations (one patient had a second stereotactic procedure). Combined lesions in the contralateral zona incerta and the base of the ventrolateral (oroventral) thalamus were applied in 13 instances. The zona incerta was reached by means of a movable chord electrode to obviate the need for repeated puncture. In two instances the medial pallidum was used as the stereotactic target. Hemiballism was abolished or considerably improved in 13 (93%) of 14 patients in the immediate postoperative phase. Residual dyskinesia was evaluated using the hemiballism/hemichorea outcome rating scale. Long-term follow-up review was available for 13 of the 14 patients (mean follow-up period 11 years). Persistent improvement in the hemiballism was found in 12 of these 13 patients: seven patients (54%) were free of any hyperkinesia and five patients (39%) had minor residual and predominantly hemichoreic hyperkinesia. One of the 13 patients presented with a probable psychogenic movement disorder at long-term follow-up examination. Persistent morbidity, most likely related to the operative intervention, was detected in three of the 13 patients; this included mild hemiparesis and dystonia. Functional disability was assessed using the Huntington's Disease Activities of Daily Living scale. The patients' preoperative mean value of 83% of maximum disability was reduced to a mean of 30% observed at long-term follow-up review (p < 0.001). The residual disability exhibited in most older patients was associated with cardiovascular disease. The authors compare their findings with the results of 44 cases reported previously. The authors contend that functional stereotactic surgery should be considered in patients with persistent, medically refractory hemiballism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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