Long-term follow-up results of selective VIM-thalamotomy

J Neurosurg. 1986 Sep;65(3):296-302. doi: 10.3171/jns.1986.65.3.0296.


The authors report the results of a long-term follow-up study of the effects of the physiologically defined selective VIM (nucleus ventralis intermedius)-thalamotomy on tremor of Parkinson's disease in 27 patients and essential tremor in 16 patients. The follow-up period ranged from 3.25 to 10 years (mean 6.58 years). In 43 patients a total of 50 operations (including four bilateral operations and three reoperations) were carried out. The early (2 to 4 weeks after surgery) and late effects on the tremors were determined clinically and electromyographically. Fourteen parkinsonian cases were treated with minimal lesions (about 40 cu mm). Their late results were very similar to the early results: in 10, the tremors were completely abolished, three had a slight residual tremor, and one underwent reoperation 3 months after the first surgery. Eleven essential tremor cases were treated with minimal lesions. Six of these tremors were completely abolished, four patients had slight residual tremors, and one patient with a recurrence underwent reoperation 2 years after the initial surgery. In these 23 successful operations with minimal lesions (excluding two cases with reoperation), the tremor was abolished without discernible long-lasting side effects. The other 23 operations on 16 patients with Parkinson's disease (including one reoperation) and on seven with essential tremor (one of whom also had a minimal lesion on the other side) involved relatively large lesions. In this group, the surgery was successful in almost every case. It was concluded that radiographically and physiologically monitored selective VIM-thalamotomy for parkinsonian and essential tremor is effective even when lesioning is minimal. Moreover, the beneficial effect is maintained over a long period of time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Thalamic Nuclei / surgery*
  • Tremor / surgery