Weight gain after subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease is influenced by dyskinesias' reduction and electrodes' position

Neurol Sci. 2017 Dec;38(12):2123-2129. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-3102-7. Epub 2017 Sep 14.


Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that can be treated with pharmacological or surgical therapy. Subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation is a commonly used surgical option. A reported side effect of STN-DBS is weight gain: the aim of our study was to find those factors that determine weight gain, through one year-long observation of 32 patients that underwent surgery in our centre. During the follow-up, we considered: anthropometric features, hormonal levels, motor outcome, neuropsychological and quality of life outcomes, therapeutic parameters and electrodes position. The majority (84%) of our patients gained weight (6.7 kg in 12 months); more than a half of the cohort became overweight. At 12th month, weight gain showed a correlation with dyskinesias reduction, electrodes voltage and distance on the lateral axis. In the multivariate regression analysis, the determinants of weight gain were dyskinesias reduction and electrodes position. In this study, we identified dyskinesias reduction and distance between the active electrodes and the third ventricle as determining factors of weight gain after STN-DBS implantation in PD patients. The first finding could be linked to a decrease in energy consumption, while the second one could be due to a lower stimulation of the lateral hypothalamic area, known for its important role in metabolism and body weight control. Weight gain is a common finding after STN-DBS implantation, and it should be carefully monitored given the potential harmful consequences of overweight.

Keywords: DBS; Dyskinesias; Parkinson’s disease; Subthalamic nucleus; Weight gain.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis
  • Subthalamic Nucleus* / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain*