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Neurosurgery. 2003 Mar;52(3):610-8; discussion 617-8.

Effect of changing patient position from supine to prone on the accuracy of a Brown-Roberts-Wells stereotactic head frame system.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5327, USA.



Despite the growing popularity of frameless image-guided surgery systems, stereotactic frame systems are widely accepted by neurosurgeons and are commonly used to perform biopsies, functional procedures, and stereotactic radiosurgery. We investigated the accuracy of the Brown-Roberts-Wells stereotactic frame system when the mechanical load on the frame changes between preoperative imaging and the intervention because of different patient position: supine during imaging, prone during intervention.


We analyzed computed tomographic images acquired from 14 patients who underwent stereotactic biopsy, deep brain stimulator implantation, or radiosurgery. Two images were acquired for each patient, one with the patient in the supine position and one in the prone position. The prone images were registered to the respective supine images by use of an intensity-based registration algorithm, once using only the frame and once using only the head. The difference between the transformations produced by these two registrations describes the movement of the patient's head with respect to the frame.


The maximum frame-based registration error between the supine and prone positions was 2.8 mm; it was more than 2 mm in two patients and more than 1.5 mm in six patients. Anteroposterior translation is the dominant component of the difference transformation for most patients. In general, the magnitude of the movement increased with brain volume, which is an index of head weight.


To minimize frame-based registration error caused by a change in the mechanical load on the frame, stereotactic procedures should be performed with the patient in the identical position during imaging and intervention.

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