Postoperative neuroimaging analysis of DRT deep brain stimulation revision surgery for complicated essential tremor

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2017 May;159(5):779-787. doi: 10.1007/s00701-017-3134-z. Epub 2017 Mar 10.


Background: We report a patient who received conventional bilateral deep brain stimulation of the ventral intermediate nucleus of thalamus (Vim) for the treatment of medication refractory essential tremor (ET). After initial beneficial effects, therapeutic efficacy was lost due to a loss of control of his proximal trunkal and extremity tremor. The patient received successful diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging fiber tractographic (DTI FT)-assisted DBS revision surgery targeting the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRT) in the subthalamic region (STR).

Objective: To report the concept of DTI FT-assisted DRT DBS revision surgery for ET and to show sophisticated postoperative neuroimaging analysis explaining improved symptom control.

Methods: Analysis was based on preoperative DTI sequences and postoperative helical computed tomography (hCT). Leads, stimulation fields, and fibers were reconstructed using commercial software systems (Elements, Brainlab AG, Feldkirchen, Germany; GUIDE XT, Boston Scientific Corp., Boston, MA, USA).

Results: The patient showed immediate and sustained tremor improvement after DTI FT-assisted revision surgery. Analysis of the two implantations (electrode positions in both instances) revealed a lateral and posterior shift in the pattern of modulation of the cortical fiber pathway projection after revision surgery as compared to initial implantation, explaining a more efficacious stimulation.

Conclusions: Our work underpins a possible superiority of direct targeting approaches using advanced neuroimaging technologies to perform personalized DBS surgery. The evaluation of DBS electrode positions with the herein-described neuroimaging simulation technologies will likely improve targeting and revision strategies. Direct targeting with DTI FT-assisted approaches in a variety of indications is the focus of our ongoing research.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Dentato-rubro-thalamic tract; Diffusion tensor imaging; Essential tremor; Fiber tracking; STN; Thalamus; Tractography.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Essential Tremor / surgery
  • Essential Tremor / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reoperation / methods*
  • Ventral Thalamic Nuclei*