Diffusion tractography imaging-guided frameless linear accelerator stereotactic radiosurgical thalamotomy for tremor: Case report

Won Kim, Justin Sharim, Stephen Tenn, Tania Kaprealian, Yvette Bordelon, Nzhde Agazaryan, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Essential tremor and Parkinson's disease-associated tremor are extremely prevalent within the feld of movement disorders. The ventral intermediate (VIM) nucleus of the thalamus has been commonly used as both a neuromodulatory and neuroablative target for the treatment of these forms of tremor. With both deep brain stimulation and Gamma Knife radiosurgery, there is an abundance of literature regarding the surgical planning, targeting, and outcomes of these methodologies. To date, there have been no reports of frameless, linear accelerator (LINAC)-based thalomotomies for tremor. The authors report the case of a patient with tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease, with poor tremor improvement with medication, who was offered LINAC-based thalamotomy. High-resolution 0.9-mm isotropic MR images were obtained, and simulation was performed via CT with 1.5-mm contiguous slices. The VIM thalamic nucleus was determined using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based segmentation on FSL using probabilistic tractography. The supplemental motor and premotor areas were the cortical target masks. The authors centered their isocenter within the region of the DTIdetermined target and treated the patient with 140 Gy in a single fraction. The DTI-determined target had coordinates of 14.2 mm lateral and 8.36 mm anterior to the posterior commissure (PC), and 3 mm superior to the anterior commissure (AC)-PC line, which differed by 3.30 mm from the original target determined by anatomical considerations (15.5 mm lateral and 7 mm anterior to the PC, and 0 mm superior to the AC-PC line). There was faint radiographic evidence of lesioning at the 3-month follow-up within the target zone, which continued to consolidate on subsequent scans. The patient experienced continued right upper-extremity resting tremor improvement starting at 10 months until it was completely resolved at 22 months of follow-up. Frameless LINAC-based thalamotomy guided by DTI-based thalamic segmentation is a feasible method for achieving radiosurgical lesions of the VIM thalamus to treat tremor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion tractography
  • Functional neurosurgery
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stereotactic neurosurgery
  • Tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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