Background: The thalamic anteroventral nucleus (AV) is a promising target structure for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients suffering from refractory epilepsy. Direct visualization of the AV would improve spatial accuracy in functional stereotactic neurosurgery for treatment of this disease.
Methods: On 3-tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), acquisition parameters were adjusted for optimal demarcation of the AV in 1 healthy subject. Reliability of AV visualization was then evaluated in 5 healthy individuals and 3 patients with refractory epilepsy.
Results: In all individuals, an adjusted T1-weighted sequence allowed for demarcation of the AV. It was clearly distinguishable from hyperintense myelin-rich lamellae surrounding it ventrally and laterally and appeared hypo-intense compared to the adjacent thalamic nuclei. Image resolution and contrast facilitated direct stereotactic targeting of the AV prior to DBS surgery in all 3 patients.
Conclusions: Direct targeting of the AV can be achieved, which has immediate implications for the accuracy of MRI-guided DBS in patients with refractory epilepsy.