A retrospective evaluation of thalamic targeting for tremor deep brain stimulation using high-resolution anatomical imaging with supplementary fiber tractography.


Department of Neurosurgery, Fukuoka University, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral intermediate (Vim) thalamic nucleus is used to treat tremors. Here, we identified the Vim nucleus on fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery (FGATIR) images and delineated the dentate-rubrothalamic tract (DRT) to determine the DBS target. We evaluated whether this method could consistently identify the Vim nucleus by anatomical imaging and fiber tractography.
METHODS : We retrospectively reviewed clinical data of patients who underwent unilateral thalamic DBS for severe tremor disorders. We evaluated outcomes at baseline, 6 months and 1 year following intervention, and annually thereafter. We reviewed preoperative planning to determine whether our tractography technique could consistently depict the DRT, and evaluated implanted electrode position by fusing postoperative CT scans to preoperative MR images.
RESULTS : Seven patients (three men and four women) were included; preoperative diagnoses included essential tremor (n = 3), Parkinson's (n = 2), and Holmes tremor (n = 2). All patients responded to DBS therapy; motor scores improved at 6-month and last follow-up. The Vim nucleus was successfully identified, as the DRT was depicted in all cases. Of ten active DBS contacts in seven leads, four contacts were located outside of the depicted DRT, and these contacts tended to require higher stimulation intensity.
CONCLUSIONS : The Vim nucleus was successfully identified with FGATIR. Our methods may be useful to determine optimal DBS trajectory, and potentially improve outcomes.


Deep brain stimulation,Diffusion tensor image,Fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery,Fiber tractography,Tremor,