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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 2):171-84.

Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease.

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Department for Stereotaxy and Functional Neurosurgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


Indications for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) with deep brain stimulation (DBS) are severe, therapy refractory tremor and complications of long-term levodopa uptake. Since its first application DBS has become a standard therapy for these patients. Theoretically, the ventrolateral part of the internal pallidum (GPI) or the subthalamic nucleus (STN) are suitable targets in order to treat all cardinal symptoms of patients in an advanced stage of PD stereotactically. Although clinical efficacy of both GPI or STN stimulation is obviously comparable, it has become widely accepted to prefer STN over GPI DBS. If PD-associated, medically intractable tremor is the most disabling symptom, stimulation of the ventrolateral motor thalamus can be an alternative. Anatomical targets for DBS are small and located in critical brain areas. Furthermore, this type of surgery is highly elective. As a consequence, high resolution multiplanar imaging and adequate treatment planning software are indispensable prerequisites for DBS surgery. Currently, commercially available impulse generators deliver a permanent high frequency periodic pulse train stimulation that interacts rather unspecifically with the firing pattern of both normal and pathological neurons. Prospectively, the development of more specific stimulation paradigms may help to improve the efficacy of this treatment modality.

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