Toward Generalizable Trajectory Planning for Human Intracerebral Trials and Therapy

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2022;100(4):214-223. doi: 10.1159/000521916. Epub 2022 Feb 7.


Introduction: Stereotactic neurosurgical techniques are increasingly used to deliver biologics, such as cells and viruses, although standardized procedures are necessary to ensure consistency and reproducibility.

Objective: We provide an instructional guide to help plan for complex image-guided trajectories; this may be of particular benefit to surgeons new to biologic trials and companies planning such trials.

Methods: We show how nuclei can be segmented and multiple trajectories with multiple injection points can be created through a single or multiple burr hole(s) based on preoperative images. Screenshots similar to those shown in this article can be used for planning purposes and for quality control in clinical trials.

Results: This method enables the precise definition of 3-D target structures, such as the putamen, and efficient planning trajectories for biologic injections. The technique is generalizable and largely independent of procedural format, and thus can be integrated with frame-based or frameless platforms to streamline reproducible therapeutic delivery.

Conclusions: We describe an easy-to-use and generalizable protocol for intracerebral trajectory planning for stereotactic delivery of biologics. Although we highlight intracerebral stem cell delivery to the putamen using a frame-based stereotactic delivery system, similar strategies may be employed for different brain nuclei using different platforms. We anticipate this will inform future advanced and fully automated neurosurgical procedures to help unify the field and decrease inherent variability seen with manual trajectory planning.

Trial registration: NCT03629275.

Keywords: Biologics; Clinical trials; Functional neurosurgery; Intracerebral; Stereotactic; Trajectory planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*


  • Biological Products

Associated data