is the surgical ablation
by burning or freezing of brain
tissue to treat neurological
disorders. The lesions
it causes are irreversible.
Surgical ablation has been used to treat Parkinson's disease
. In the 1990s, the pallidum
was a common surgical target. Unilateral pallidotomy improves tremor
on one side of the body (opposite the side of the brain surgery), but bilateral pallidotomy was found to cause irreversible deterioration in speech
. The thalamus
is another potential target for treating tremor; in some countries, so is the subthalamic nucleus
, although not in the United States
due to its severe side effects. Generally, deep brain stimulation
surgery (DBS) is considered preferable to ablation because it has the same effect and is adjustable and reversible. However, for patients for whom DBS is not feasible, ablation of the subthalamic nucleus has been shown to be safe and effective.
have been treated by ablation of the trigeminal nerve
, but have not been very effective. Other surgical treatments for cluster headaches are under investigation.
In the People's Republic of China
, surgical ablation was used to treat psychological and neurological disorders, particularly schizophrenia
, but also including clinical depression
, obsessive-compulsive disorder
, and epilepsy
. The official Xinhua News Agency
has since reported that China's Ministry of Health
has banned the procedure for schizophrenia and severely restricted the practice for other conditions.
have been shown to be effective in ablation of both cerebral
tissue. A laser called , for example, allows great precision in location and size of the lesion and causes little to no thermal damage to adjacent tissue.