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Our expert neurosurgery team is committed to providing the finest and most comprehensive patient care. For help finding a neurosurgeon, call 310-825-5111.

About Ballism

General Information

  • Hemiballism involves involuntary, violent movements on one side of the body. They are especially violent because they involve the muscles where the limbs attach to the body.
  • The most common cause is stroke or tumor.


  • The abnormal movements of ballism consist of involuntary hurling, irregular, frequently violent movements of the shoulder and arm while the patient is awake.


  • The early treatment of choice for ballism is medication to help regulate dopamine and other brain chemicals and processes that control movement and emotions.
  • Since this disorder is frequently temporary, surgery is considered only if symptoms persist for two to three months, or if the movements are so violent they exhaust the patient.
  • Stereotactic surgery allows doctors to pinpoint locations in the thalamus, the portion off the brain that relays sensory impulses, and create lesions that ease abnormal movements.


  • Results of surgery are satisfactory in 50 percent to 69 percent of patients.

The Neuro-ICU cares for patients with all types of neurosurgical and neurological injuries, including stroke, brain hemorrhage, trauma and tumors. We work in close cooperation with your surgeon or medical doctor with whom you have had initial contact. Together with the surgeon or medical doctor, the NeuroICU attending physician and team members direct your family member's care while in the ICU.  The NeuroICU team consists of the bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians in specialty training (Fellows) and attending physicians.