Effects of medial thalamotomy and pallido-thalamic tractotomy on sleep and waking EEG in pain and Parkinsonian patients.


Investigation of sleep and sleep EEG before and after stereotactic neurosurgery.


All-night polysomnographic recordings were obtained in 3 neurogenic pain patients and 3 parkinsonian patients. One subject of each group was recorded in addition 3 months after surgery. Stereotactic operations were performed in the medial thalamus and on the pallido-thalamic tract to relieve neurogenic pain and parkinsonian symptoms, respectively.


Sleep efficiency was little affected by the surgical intervention in neurogenic pain patients and a dramatic reduction in REM sleep occurred, which had recovered in the subject recorded after 3 months. After the surgery parkinsonian patients showed an increase in total sleep time and in sleep efficiency, and a decrease in REM sleep latency. Sleep efficiency remained elevated in the 3 months follow-up. Medial thalamotomy abolished spindle frequency activity (SFA) in the power and coherence spectra in non-REM sleep stage 2 systematically. Pallido-thalamic tractotomy attenuated SFA only to varying degrees. After 3 months SFA had reemerged. The alpha peak of the waking EEG was shifted to lower frequencies after surgery in 5 of 6 patients and had reverted to the original frequency 3 months later.


Medial thalamotomy or pallido-thalamic tractotomy had acute and reversible effects on the EEG and long-term deleterious side effects of stereotactic surgery on sleep and sleep EEG are improbable. The results provide further evidence for the involvement of the human thalamus in the generation of sleep spindles.

Clin Neurophysiol. 2000 Jul;111(7):1266-75.

PMID: 10880802