Clinical outcomes of pallidal deep brain stimulation for dystonia implanted using intraoperative MRI

Vibhash D. Sharma, Yarema B. Bezchlibnyk, Faical Isbaine, Kushal B. Naik, Jennifer Cheng, John T. Gale, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Cathrin Buetefisch, Stewart A. Factor, Jon T. Willie, Nicholas M. Boulis, Thomas Wichmann, Mahlon R. DeLong, Robert E. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Lead placement for deep brain stimulation (DBS) using intraoperative MRI (iMRI) relies solely on real-time intraoperative neuroimaging to guide electrode placement, without microelectrode recording (MER) or electrical stimulation. There is limited information, however, on outcomes after iMRI-guided DBS for dystonia. The authors evaluated clinical outcomes and targeting accuracy in patients with dystonia who underwent lead placement using an iMRI targeting platform. METHODS Patients with dystonia undergoing iMRI-guided lead placement in the globus pallidus pars internus (GPi) were identified. Patients with a prior ablative or MER-guided procedure were excluded from clinical outcomes analysis. Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS) scores and Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale (TWSTRS) scores were assessed preoperatively and at 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Other measures analyzed include lead accuracy, complications/adverse events, and stimulation parameters. RESULTS A total of 60 leads were implanted in 30 patients. Stereotactic lead accuracy in the axial plane was 0.93 ± 0.12 mm from the intended target. Nineteen patients (idiopathic focal, n = 7; idiopathic segmental, n = 5; DYT1, n = 1; tardive, n = 2; other secondary, n = 4) were included in clinical outcomes analysis. The mean improvement in BFMDRS score was 51.9% ± 9.7% at 6 months and 63.4% ± 8.0% at 1 year. TWSTRS scores in patients with predominant cervical dystonia (n = 13) improved by 53.3% ± 10.5% at 6 months and 67.6% ± 9.0% at 1 year. Serious complications occurred in 6 patients (20%), involving 8 of 60 implanted leads (13.3%). The rate of serious complications across all patients undergoing iMRI-guided DBS at the authors’ institution was further reviewed, including an additional 53 patients undergoing GPi-DBS for Parkinson disease. In this expanded cohort, serious complications occurred in 11 patients (13.3%) involving 15 leads (10.1%). CONCLUSIONS Intraoperative MRI–guided lead placement in patients with dystonia showed improvement in clinical outcomes comparable to previously reported results using awake MER-guided lead placement. The accuracy of lead placement was high, and the procedure was well tolerated in the majority of patients. However, a number of patients experienced serious adverse events that were attributable to the introduction of a novel technique into a busy neurosurgical practice, and which led to the revision of protocols, product inserts, and on-site training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1594
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Asleep DBS
  • ClearPoint
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Dystonia
  • Functional neurosurgery
  • Globus pallidus
  • Interventional MRI
  • Intraoperative MRI


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