Stereotactic robot‑assisted MRI‑guided laser interstitial thermal therapy thalamotomy for medically intractable Parkinson’s disease tremor

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1453–1460

Medically intractable Parkinson’s disease (PD) tremor is a common difficult clinical situation with major impact on patient’s quality of life (QOL). Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective therapy but is not an option for many patients. Less invasive lesional brain surgery procedures, such as thalamotomy, have proven to be effective in these indications. Here, we describe the technical nuances and advantages of stereotactic robot-assisted MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRIg-LITT) thalamotomy for medically intractable PD tremor.

Method We describe 2 patients with medically intractable PD tremor treated with stereotactic robot-assisted MRIg-LITT thalamotomy performed under general anesthesia with intraoperative electrophysiological testing. Pre and postoperative tremor scores were assessed using the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin tremor rating scale (TRS).

Results At 3-month follow-up, both patients demonstrated significant improvement in tremor symptoms subjectively and according to the TRS (75% for both). Patients also had substantial improvements in their QOL (32.54% and 38%) according to the 39-item PD questionnaire. Both patients underwent uncomplicated MRIg-LITT thalamotomy.

Conclusions In patients with medically intractable PD tremor who are unsuitable candidates for DBS, thalamotomy utilizing a stereotactic robot, intraoperative electrophysiological testing, and laser ablation with real-time MRI guidance may be a viable treatment option. However, further studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods are necessary to confirm these preliminary results.