Comparison of three methods of targeting the subthalamic nucleus for chronic stimulation in Parkinson's disease

Neurosurgery. 2005 Apr;56(2 Suppl):360-8; discussion 360-8. doi: 10.1227/


Objective: The success of subthalamic nucleus (STN) surgery for Parkinson's disease depends on accuracy in target determination. The objective of this study was to determine which of the following techniques was most accurate and precise in identifying the location for stimulation in STN deep brain stimulation surgery that is most clinically effective: direct targeting, indirect targeting using the positions of the anterior and posterior commissures, or a technique using the red nucleus (RN) as an internal fiducial marker.

Methods: We reviewed 14 patients with Parkinson's disease treated with bilateral STN deep brain stimulation (28 STN targets). Electrode implantation was based on direct and indirect targeting using two-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging with refinement using microelectrode recording. Optimal settings, including the contacts used, were determined during the clinical follow-up. The position of the best contact was defined with postoperative magnetic resonance imaging. This location was compared with the modified direct, indirect, and RN-based targets. The mean distances between the targets and the final position of the optimal contact were calculated. The accuracy and variance of each target were analyzed.

Results: The mean position of the best contact was x = 12.12 (standard deviation [SD], 1.45 mm), y = -2.41 (SD, 1.63 mm), and z = -2.39 (SD, 1.49 mm) relative to the midcommissural point. The mean distance between the optimal contact position and the planned target was 3.19 mm (SD, 1.19 mm) using the RN-based method, 3.42 mm (SD, 1.34 mm) using indirect targeting, and 4.66 mm (SD, 1.33 mm) using a modified direct target. The mean distance between the optimal contact and the RN-based target was significantly smaller than the mean distance between the optimal contact and the direct target (post hoc with Tamhane's correction, P < 0.001) but not between the optimal contact and the indirect target. The RN-based target had the smallest variance (F test, P < 0.001), indicating greater precision.

Conclusion: The use of the RN as an internal fiducial marker for targeting the optimal region of STN stimulation was reliable and closely approximates the position of the electrode contact that provides the optimal clinical results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Red Nucleus / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / pathology
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors