A Case of Dentatotomy for Pain and Spasticity and Systematic Review

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2021;99(6):521-525. doi: 10.1159/000516423. Epub 2021 Jun 9.


Background: Surgical interventions for spasticity aim to improve motor function and pain in cases that are refractory to medical treatment. Ablation of the cerebellar dentate nucleus (dentatotomy) may be a useful alternative.

Case report: A 55-year-old male patient with spasticity, secondary to a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury with quadriparesis, had bilateral lumbar DREZotomy with an improvement that lasted for 6 years. Ten years after the DREZotomy, a progressive increased spasticity manifested as spastic diplegia (Ashworth 4) and spontaneous muscle painful spasms (Penn 4), as well as spasticity in the upper extremities, predominantly on the right side (Ashworth 3). A right radio frequency dentatotomy was performed with intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring. Spasticity scales were applied at the following times: preoperative and at 1 and 8 months after surgery. During the first month, the patient presented a clear decrease in spasticity ipsilateral to the side of lesioning (Ashworth 1) and of painful spasms in the lower extremities (Penn 1). After 8 months, spasticity ipsilateral to the injury decreased even more to Ashworth (0), but a progressive increase in muscle spasms of lower extremities was observed (Penn 2).

Conclusion: Stereotactic dentatotomy may be an effective surgical alternative for management of spasticity associated with painful spasms in selected patients.

Keywords: Dentate nucleus; Dentatotomy; Radio frequency lesion; Spasticity; Stereotactic dentatotomy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellar Nuclei / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity* / surgery
  • Pain*