Neuroimaging Advances in Deep Brain Stimulation: Review of Indications, Anatomy, and Brain Connectomics

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2020 Sep;41(9):1558-1568. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A6693. Epub 2020 Aug 13.


Deep brain stimulation is an established therapy for multiple brain disorders, with rapidly expanding potential indications. Neuroimaging has advanced the field of deep brain stimulation through improvements in delineation of anatomy, and, more recently, application of brain connectomics. Older lesion-derived, localizationist theories of these conditions have evolved to newer, network-based "circuitopathies," aided by the ability to directly assess these brain circuits in vivo through the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques, such as diffusion tractography and fMRI. In this review, we use a combination of ultra-high-field MR imaging and diffusion tractography to highlight relevant anatomy for the currently approved indications for deep brain stimulation in the United States: essential tremor, Parkinson disease, drug-resistant epilepsy, dystonia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. We also review the literature regarding the use of fMRI and diffusion tractography in understanding the role of deep brain stimulation in these disorders, as well as their potential use in both surgical targeting and device programming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Humans