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J Neurosurg. 2010 Mar;112(3):479-90. doi: 10.3171/2009.6.JNS081161.

Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulator placement using high-field interventional magnetic resonance imaging and a skull-mounted aiming device: technique and application accuracy.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



The authors discuss their method for placement of deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes using interventional MR (iMR) imaging and report on the accuracy of the technique, its initial clinical efficacy, and associated complications in a consecutive series of subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS implants to treat Parkinson disease (PD).


A skull-mounted aiming device (Medtronic NexFrame) was used in conjunction with real-time MR imaging (Philips Intera 1.5T). Preoperative imaging, DBS implantation, and postimplantation MR imaging were integrated into a single procedure performed with the patient in a state of general anesthesia. Accuracy of implantation was assessed using 2 types of measurements: the "radial error," defined as the scalar distance between the location of the intended target and the actual location of the guidance sheath in the axial plane 4 mm inferior to the commissures, and the "tip error," defined as the vector distance between the expected anterior commissure-posterior commissure (AC-PC) coordinates of the permanent DBS lead tip and the actual AC-PC coordinates of the lead tip. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS III), in the off-medication state.


Twenty-nine patients with PD underwent iMR imaging-guided placement of 53 DBS electrodes into the STN. The mean (+/- SD) radial error was 1.2 +/- 0.65 mm, and the mean absolute tip error was 2.2 +/- 0.92 mm. The tip error was significantly smaller than for STN DBS electrodes implanted using traditional frame-based stereotaxy (3.1 +/- 1.41 mm). Eighty-seven percent of leads were placed with a single brain penetration. No hematomas were visible on MR images. Two device infections occurred early in the series. In bilaterally implanted patients, the mean improvement on the UPDRS III at 9 months postimplantation was 60%.


The authors' technical approach to placement of DBS electrodes adapts the procedure to a standard configuration 1.5-T diagnostic MR imaging scanner in a radiology suite. This method simplifies DBS implantation by eliminating the use of the traditional stereotactic frame and the subsequent requirement for registration of the brain in stereotactic space and the need for physiological recording and patient cooperation. This method has improved accuracy compared with that of anatomical guidance using standard frame-based stereotaxy in conjunction with preoperative MR imaging.

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