Neurology 2015-11-03
A prospective single-blind study of Gamma Knife thalamotomy for tremor.   
ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of unilateral Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) for treatment of severe tremor with a prospective blinded assessment.
METHODS
Fifty patients (mean age: 74.5 years; 32 men) with severe refractory tremor (36 essential, 14 parkinsonian) were treated with unilateral GKT. Targeting of the ventral intermediate nucleus (Vim) was achieved with Leksell Gamma Knife with a single shot through a 4-mm collimator helmet. The prescription dose was 130 Gy. Neurologic and neuropsychological assessments including a single-blinded video assessment of the tremor severity performed by a movement disorders neurologist from another center were performed before and 12 months after treatment. MRI follow-up occurred at 3, 6, and 12 months.
RESULTS
The upper limb tremor score improved by 54.2% on the blinded assessment (p < 0.0001). All tremor components (rest, postural, and intention) were improved. Activities of daily living were improved by 72.2%. Cognitive functions remained unchanged. Following GKT, the median delay of improvement was 5.3 months (range 1-12 months). The only side effect was a transient hemiparesis associated with excessive edema around the thalamotomy in one patient.
CONCLUSION
This blinded prospective assessment demonstrates that unilateral GKT is a safe and efficient procedure for severe medically refractory tremor. Side effects were rare and transient in this study.
CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE
This study provides Class IV evidence that for patients with severe refractory tremor, GKT is well tolerated and effective in reducing tremor impairment.

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