Postoperative Lead Movement after Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery and the Change of Stimulation Volume

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2021;99(3):221-229. doi: 10.1159/000511406. Epub 2020 Dec 16.


Introduction: Lead movement after deep brain stimulation may occur and influence the affected volume of stimulation. The aim of the study was to investigate differences in lead position between the day after surgery and approximately 1 month postoperatively and also simulate the electric field (EF) around the active contacts in order to investigate the impact of displacement on affected volume.

Methods: Twenty-three patients with movement disorders underwent deep brain stimulation surgery (37 leads). Computed tomography at the 2 time points were co-fused respectively with the stereotactic images in Surgiplan. The coordinates (x, y, and z) of the lead tips were compared between the 2 dates. Eleven of these patients were selected for the EF simulation in Comsol Multiphysics. Postoperative changes of EF spread in the tissue due to conductivity changes in perielectrode space and due to displacement were evaluated by calculating the coverage coefficient and the Sørensen-Dice coefficient.

Results: There was a significant displacement (mean ± SD) on the left lead: x (0.44 ± 0.72, p < 0.01), y (0.64 ± 0.54, p < 0.001), and z (0.62 ± 0.71, p < 0.001). On the right lead, corresponding values were: x (-0.11 ± 0.61, ns), y (0.71 ± 0.54, p < 0.001), and z (0.49 ± 0.81, p < 0.05). The anchoring technique was a statistically significant variable associated with displacement. No correlation was found between bilateral (n = 14) versus unilateral deep brain stimulation, gender (n = 17 male), age <60 years (n = 8), and calculated air volume. The simulated stimulation volume was reduced after 1 month because of the perielectrode space. When considering perielectrode space and displacement, the volumes calculated the day after surgery and approximately 1 month later were partly overlapped.

Conclusion: The left lead tip displayed a tendency to move lateral, anterior, and inferior and the right a tendency to move anterior and inferior. The anchoring technique was associated to displacement. New brain territory was affected due to the displacement despite considering the reduced stimulated volume after 1 month. Postoperative changes in perielectrode space and small lead movements are reasons for delaying programming to 4 weeks following surgery.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Displacement; Electric field; Functional neurosurgery; Movement disorder surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / surgery
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Stereotaxic Techniques