For COVID-19 vaccine updates, please review our information guide. For patient eligibility and scheduling availability, please visit

Clinical improvement associated with targeted interruption of the cerebellothalamic tract following MR-guided focused ultrasound for essential tremor.

TitleClinical improvement associated with targeted interruption of the cerebellothalamic tract following MR-guided focused ultrasound for essential tremor.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsJ Chazen L, Sarva H, Stieg PE, Min RJ, Ballon DJ, Pryor KO, Riegelhaupt PM, Kaplitt MG
JournalJ Neurosurg
Date Published2018 08
KeywordsAged, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Essential Tremor, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Multimodal Imaging, Neuroimaging, Neurosurgical Procedures, Surgery, Computer-Assisted, Thalamus, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography, Interventional

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to evaluate the utility of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography-based targeting of the dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRT) for magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy in patients with essential tremor (ET) and correlate postprocedural tract disruption with clinical outcomes. METHODS Four patients received preprocedural and immediate postprocedural DTI in addition to traditional anatomical MRI sequences for MRgFUS thalamotomy. Optimal ablation sites were selected based on the patient-specific location of the DRT as demonstrated by DTI (direct targeting) and correlated with traditional atlas-based measurements for thalamic ventral intermediate nucleus (Vim) lesioning (indirect targeting). Fiber tracts were displayed three-dimensionally during the procedure and used in conjunction with clinical signs of tremor control for fine correction of the ablation site. Immediately following the conclusion of the procedure, the MRgFUS head frame was removed and patients were placed in a 32-channel MRI head coil for follow-up DTI and anatomical MRI sequences. RESULTS All patients had excellent postoperative tremor control and successful pre- and postprocedural DTI fiber tracking of the corticospinal tract, medial lemniscus, and DRT. Immediate postprocedure DTI failed to track the DRT ipsilateral to the lesion site with a preserved contralateral DRT, coincident with substantial resolution of contralateral tremor. CONCLUSIONS DTI can reliably identify the optimal ablation target and demonstrates tract disruption on immediate postprocedural imaging. A clinical improvement of ET was observed immediately following the procedure, correlating with DRT disruption and suggesting that interruption of the DRT is a consequence of clinically successful MRgFUS thalamotomy. These findings may have utility for both MRgFUS procedure planning in surgically naive patients and retreatment of patients who have previously undergone unsuccessful thalamic Vim lesioning.

Alternate JournalJ Neurosurg
PubMed ID29053074