Object: Small, asymptomatic hemorrhages are easier to detect during stereotactic surgery when magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is used for targeting rather than when traditional approaches, such as ventriculography, are performed with contrast material. In the present study the authors examined the actual incidence of intraoperative hemorrhages in patients with movement disorders who had undergone MR imaging-targeted surgery, microelectrode recording (MER)-guided implantation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes, or radiofrequency-induced coagulation surgery performed.
Methods: Ninety-six consecutive patients underwent a total of 116 stereotactic operations for movement disorders (57 operations for radiofrequency-induced coagulation and 59 for DBS electrode implantation) between January 1998 and November 2002. The authors investigated the correlation between hemorrhages and other factors including the location of the hemorrhage and the type of surgery performed. Postoperative computerized tomography scans demonstrated the occurrence of intraoperative hemorrhages at 12 locations during 11 procedures (9.5% of all procedures). Nine hemorrhages occurred during 57 coagulation operations (15.8%). Within this group, the frequency of hemorrhages was highest during thalamotomy (five [21.7%] of 23 procedures) and lower during pallidotomy (four [11.8%] of 34 procedures). In contrast, only two intraventricular hemorrhages developed during 59 operations in which DBS electrodes were implanted (3.4%). In no case was hemorrhage detected in the main DBS target, that is, the subthalamic nucleus.
Conclusions: When small, asymptomatic hemorrhages were included in the estimation, the actual rate of hemorrhage was higher than that previously reported. Judging from the incidence of hemorrhage during coagulation and DBS surgeries, the authors suggest that the heat induced by coagulation may play a larger role than microelectrode penetration in the development of hemorrhage.