Clinical Motor Outcome of Bilateral Subthalamic Nucleus Deep-Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease Using Image-Guided Frameless Stereotaxy

Neurosurgery 67:1088–1093, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181ecc887

Image-guided neuronavigation has largely replaced stereotactic frames when precise, real-time anatomic localization is required during neurosurgical procedures. However, some procedures, including placement of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) leads for the treatment of movement disorders, are still performed using frame-based stereotaxy. Despite the demonstration of comparable accuracy between frame-based and ‘‘frameless’’ image-guided approaches, the clinical efficacy of frameless DBS placement has never been reported.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the outcomes of subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS using the frameless technique for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

METHODS: Of 31 subjects (20 men) with PD for 10 6 4 years, 28 had bilateral STN DBS and 3 had unilateral STN DBS. The Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor scale (III) and total medication doses were assessed before surgery on and off medication and off medication/ON DBS (off/ON) after 6 to 12 months of STN DBS.

RESULTS: There was a 58% improvement from bilateral STN DBS in the UPDRS III (40 6 16 preoperatively off, 17 6 11 off/ON) 9.6 6 1.9 months after surgery (P , .001). This compared favorably with the published outcomes using the frame-based technique. All motor subscores improved significantly (P , .01). The mean reduction in medication was 50%. No intraoperative complications occurred, but one subject with hypertension died of a delayed hemorrhage postoperatively. Two subjects developed postoperative infections that required lead removal and antibiotics.

CONCLUSIONS: Bilateral STN DBS for PD performed by an experienced team using a frameless approach results in outcomes comparable to those reported with the use of the frame-based technique.