Deep Brain Stimulation and Thalamotomy for Tremor Compared
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) and thalamotomy are both capable of abolishing tremor. However, no technique is perfect and if thalamotomy proves inadequate so that tremor recurs, presumably because of suboptimal lesion location, the only option is to repeat the thalamotomy. With DBS all that has been necessary to date is to change the parameters of stimulation. Similarly with complications such as the “cerebellar” ones and paraesthesiae. If these occur after thalamotomy one can only wait and hope that they will subside and they do not always do so. With DBS, changing the parameters in the authors’ patients has so far been successful in eliminating them.
DBS, like thalamotomy is very effective for controlling tremor in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET) and for improving dexterity in ET, but both techniques are less useful for the control of dopa dyskinesia, Parkinsonian rigidity, or impaired dexterity in PD, though DBS may be better than thalamotomy for the latter condition. On the other hand, both DBS and thalamotomy are very effective in improving dexterity in PD and ET may depend upon the fact that in PD bradykinesia is a major component, whereas in ET only the tremor is. The advantages of DBS over thalamotomy have to be weighed against the peculiar risks of DBS and of course, its cost.
KeywordsDeep brain stimulation (DBS) thalamotomy Parkinson’s disease microthalamotomy cerebellar tremor
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