Brain and Spine Surgery

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Thalamotomy—ablation of brain tissue in the thalamus—involves creating an otomy (cut) in the thalamus. This structure is located below the globus pallidus. The procedure is performed to eliminate tremors.

Before surgery, detailed brain scans using a CT scan or MRI are done to identify the precise location for treatment. During a thalamotomy, a selected portion of the thalamus is surgically destroyed (ablated). The thalamus is a paired structure deep within the brain that is involved in the control of movement.

In this procedure, neurosurgeons use specialized equipment, enabling them to use three-dimensional coordinates to precisely locate an area of the thalamus. The surgery can cause slurred speech and sometimes lack of coordination when performed on both sides of the brain. For that reason, it's usually done on only one side of the brain, with the benefits confined to one side of the body. The positive effects on tremor are immediate.

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