Clinical characteristics of patients with gait instability after MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy

Lauren M. Jackson, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Vance T. Lehman, Kendall H. Lee, Kai J. Miller, Anhar Hassan, Bryan T. Klassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: MRgFUS thalamotomy is an incisionless procedure which effectively treats patients with tremor, although the procedure can result in adverse side effects including gait instability. By determining whether certain pre-existing conditions predispose patients to developing gait instability, we will be able to better counsel patients regarding risk of MRgFUS thalamotomy. Methods: All patients diagnosed with essential tremor, mixed tremor syndrome, or tremor predominant Parkinson disease who underwent MRgFUS thalamotomy at Mayo Clinic, Rochester between 2017 and 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline demographic and clinical data was extracted, and gait symptoms were compared pre-versus postoperatively. Results: Of 45 patients who underwent MRgFUS thalamotomy, 42 had at least one followup visit within twelve months and were included in the study. 39 patients had essential tremor, 1 had tremor predominant Parkinson disease, and 2 had mixed tremor syndrome. 19 out of 42 patients (45%) had gait decline. There were 10 (24%) females, and median age was 77.6 years (IQR 71.5–83.2). Older age was not correlated with gait decline (p = 0.82). Patients with a history of neuropathy and joint replacements were more likely to have gait decline after MRgFUS thalamotomy (p = 0.0099 and p = 0.0376). Patients with pre-existing gait aids were not more likely to have gait instability (p = 0.20). Conclusion: Patients who undergo MRgFUS thalamotomy for each of the tremor conditions, have an increased risk of experiencing gait decline, when there is a pre-procedure history of peripheral neuropathy, or joint replacement surgery. Older age or pre-existing gait aid use is not associated with worsened gait outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalTremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Essential tremor
  • Gait instability
  • MR guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy
  • Neuropathy
  • Ventral intermediate nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • General Medicine


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