Transgressing the Ventricular Wall During Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson Disease Increases the Risk of Adverse Neurological Sequelae

Neurosurgery 69:294–300, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318214abda

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) at the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective treatment for the motor manifestations of advanced medically refractory Parkinson disease. Because of the medial location of the target, surgical trajectories to the STN may violate the ipsilateral lateral ventricle.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether violating the ventricle during STN DBS surgery is associated with postoperative confusion.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of all STN implantation procedures for Parkinson disease performed by 1 surgeon between January 2005 and September 2008 was performed. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging was performed in all cases, and each scan was reviewed for evidence of ventricular wall violation. All charts were reviewed for postoperative confusion and/or increased length of hospital stay.

RESULTS: A total of 145 leads were implanted in 81 patients over 102 admissions. Fortythree patients underwent contemporaneous bilateral lead implantation; 23 underwent unilateral implantation; and 18 underwent staged bilateral implantation. The cases of 8 patients were complicated by postoperative confusion and increased length of stay. Sixteen magnetic resonance imaging scans demonstrated evidence of ventricular wall violation including all 8 patients with postoperative confusion. The relative risk of having postoperative confusion after traversing the ventricle is 87 (P , .001).

CONCLUSION: Violating the ventricular system during STN DBS surgery correlated significantly with postoperative altered mental status and subsequent increased length of hospital stay. This finding may explain why cognitive complications are observed more frequently in Parkinson disease patients undergoing DBS at the STN compared with the internal globus pallidus.