Deep brain stimulation for dystonia confirming a somatotopic organization in the globus pallidus internus

J Neurosurg. 2004 Aug;101(2):181-8. doi: 10.3171/jns.2004.101.2.0181.


Object: In patients with dystonia, symptoms vary greatly in their extent and severity. The efficacy of pallidal stimulation is now established, but an interindividual variability in the responses to this treatment exists. A retrospective analysis of postoperative magnetic resonance (MR) images demonstrated millimetric variations in the positions of electrode contacts inside the posterolateroventral portion of the globus pallidus internus (GPi). It therefore seemed very likely that there is a somatotopic organization within the GPi. The goal of this study was to examine the positions of specific electrode contacts according to patients' clinical evolution, so that a somatotopic organization within the GPi could be defined.

Methods: This study included 19 patients (17 of whom were right handed) with generalized dystonia who were treated by bilateral stimulation of the GPi. Patients were examined pre- and postoperatively by using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale. Dividing the patient's body into three parts--cervicoaxial area, superior limb, and inferior limb--we determined the following: 1) where the dystonic symptoms started; 2) where symptoms predominated at the time of surgery; and 3) where the highest postoperative improvement was observed. Variations in clinical response were correlated to the positions of the electrode contacts. All activated electrode contacts were in the posterolateroventral portion of the GPi (Laitinen target). A correlation between the contact location measured longitudinally and the part of the body in which the highest improvement was observed (three different areas; p = 0.004) showed that a location more anterior for the inferior limb and one more posterior for the superior limb were delineated for the right side, but not for the left side.

Conclusions: Inside the posterolateroventral subvolume of the GPi on the right side, three statistically different locations of electrode contacts were determined to be primary deep brain stimulation treatment sites for particular body parts in cases of dystonia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dystonia / physiopathology
  • Dystonia / surgery*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology*
  • Globus Pallidus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / instrumentation
  • Postoperative Care
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / classification
  • Ventral Thalamic Nuclei / pathology
  • Ventral Thalamic Nuclei / physiopathology