Thalamotomy (thalamic ablation) is a surgical procedure that
destroys a small portion of the thalamus. The thalamus is a tiny area deep
within the brain that sends and receives sensory information.
Thalamotomy may benefit some people who have severe muscle tremors
related to Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or certain other medical
conditions. Thalamotomy can prevent abnormal brain activity from reaching the
muscles and causing tremors.
The procedure starts with numbing an area of the head with local
anesthetic. The surgeon then drills a small hole in the skull and inserts a
hollow probe into the brain. Once the probe is properly placed, it is treated
with liquid nitrogen, an extremely cold substance that destroys the brain
tissue by freezing it. The probe is then removed and the wound is
Destroying part of the thalamus usually does not cause any serious
neurologic, mental, or emotional problems.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology
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