Differences in intrinsic functional networks in patients with essential tremor who had good and poor long-term responses after thalamotomy performed using MR-guided ultrasound

Chongwon Pae, Myung Ji Kim, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, Kyung Won Chang, Jinseok Eo, Hae Jeong Park, Jin Woo Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Thalamotomy at the nucleus ventralis intermedius using MR-guided focused ultrasound has been an effective treatment method for essential tremor (ET). However, this is not true for all cases, even for successful ablation. How the brain differs in patients with ET between those with long-term good and poor outcomes is not clear. To analyze the functional connectivity difference between patients in whom thalamotomy was effective and those in whom thalamotomy was ineffective and its prognostic role in ET treatment, the authors evaluated preoperative resting-state functional MRI in thalamotomy-treated patients. METHODS Preoperative resting-state functional MRI data in 85 patients with ET, who were experiencing tremor relief at the time of treatment and were followed up for a minimum of 6 months after the procedure, were collected for the study. The authors conducted a graph independent component analysis of the functional connectivity matrices of tremor-related networks. The patients were divided into thalamotomy-effective and thalamotomy-ineffective groups (thalamotomyeffective group, ≥ 50% motor symptom reduction; thalamotomy-ineffective group, < 50% motor symptom reduction at 6 months after treatment) and the authors compared network components between groups. RESULTS Seventy-two (84.7%) of the 85 patients showed ≥ 50% tremor reduction from baseline at 6 months after thalamotomy. The network analysis shows significant suppression of functional network components with connections between the areas of the cerebellum and the basal ganglia and thalamus, but enhancement of those between the premotor cortex and supplementary motor area in the noneffective group compared to the effective group. CONCLUSIONS The present study demonstrates that patients in the noneffective group have suppressed functional subnetworks in the cerebellum and subcortex regions and have enhanced functional subnetworks among motor-sensory cortical networks compared to the thalamotomy-effective group. Therefore, the authors suggest that the functional connectivity pattern might be a possible predictive factor for outcomes of MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-328
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
in the data acquisition and data processing. This research was supported by the Brain Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (grant no. NRF-2017M3C7A1049051 to Dr. Park).

Publisher Copyright:
© AANS 2023.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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