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Thalamotomy

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 closed.

Destroying part of the thalamus usually does not cause any serious neurologic, mental, or emotional problems.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.