Microelectrode Recording and Radiofrequency Thalamotomy following Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2021;99(1):34-37. doi: 10.1159/000510109. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


Magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a novel method for stereotactic brain lesioning and has primarily been applied for thalamotomies to treat essential tremor (ET). The electrophysiological properties of previously MRgFUS-sonicated thalamic neurons have not yet been described. We report on an ET patient who underwent an MRgFUS thalamotomy but experienced tremor recurrence. We expanded the MRgFUS-induced thalamic cavity using radiofrequency (RF), with good effect on the tremor but transient sensorimotor deficits and permanent ataxia. This is the first report of a patient undergoing RF thalamotomy after an unsuccessful MRgFUS thalamotomy. As we used microelectrode recording to guide the RF thalamotomy, we could also study for the first time the electrophysiological properties of previously sonicated thalamic neurons bordering the MRgFUS-induced cavity. These neurons displayed electrophysiological characteristics identical to those recorded from nonsonicated thalamic cells in ET patients. Hence, our findings support the widespread assumption that sonication below the necrotic threshold does not permanently alter neuronal function.

Keywords: Essential tremor; Intraoperative neurophysiology; MRI-guided focused ultrasound; Microelectrode recording; Reoperation; Stereotactic thalamotomy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Essential Tremor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Essential Tremor / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Microelectrodes
  • Psychosurgery / methods
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / methods*
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thalamus / surgery*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*