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Stimulation site within the MRI-defined STN predicts postoperative motor outcome

Department of Neurology, Christian- Albrechts-University Kiel, Kiel, Germany


High-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-HFS) is highly effective in treating motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) and medication side effects as well as in improving quality of life. Despite preoperative screening for patients as eligible candidates for this treatment, electrode position may furthermore influence treatment quality. Here, we investigated the relationship between the anatomical site of stimulation within the MRI-defined STN and the outcome of PD patients after STN-HFS. In 30 PD patients with bilateral STN stimulation, we retrospectively defined the boundaries of the STN within the axial target plane of the stereotactic T2-weighted MRI and determined the position of the active electrode contact in relation to the border of the STN. The position of the active contact within the STN was the only variable to predict the outcome of STN stimulation. In contrast, covariates such as age, disease duration, symptom severity, and response to levodopa had no effect. The lateral position of the stimulation contact within the STN led to significantly better clinical improvement, lower stimulation parameters, and less need for postoperative dopaminergic medication. The outcome of patients with stimulation contacts within the medial region of the STN was significantly worse. Precise targeting of the lateral region of the STN is essential for achieving sufficient stimulation efficacy. Preoperative T2-weighted MRI might be a useful component of the targeting procedure to improve the outcome of PD patients.

Copyright © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.

PMID: 22517070
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


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