Discrepancies between the MRI and the electrophysiologically defined subthalamic nucleus

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:2307–2318. DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-1081-7

The aim of our study was to evaluate discrepancies between the electrophysiologically and MRI-defined subthalamic nucleus (STN) in order to contribute to the ongoing debate of whether or not microelectrode recording (MER) provides additional information to imageguided targeting in deep brain stimulation.

Methods: Forty-four STNs in 22 patients with Parkinson’s disease were investigated. The three-dimensional MRI-defined STN was derived from segmentations of axial and coronal T2-weighted images. The electrophysiological STNs were generated from intraoperative MERs in 1,487 locations. The stereotactical coordinates of positive and negative STN recordings were re-imported to the planning software, where a three-dimensional reconstruction of the electrophysiological STN was performed and fused to the MRI data set. The estimated borders of the MRI- and MERSTN were compared. For statistical analysis Student’s t, Mann-Whitney rank sum and Fisher’s exact tests were used.

Results: MER-STN volumes, which were found outside the MRI-STN, ranged from 0 mm3 to 87 mm3 (mean: 45 mm3). A mean of 44% of the MER-STN volumes exceeded the MRI-STN (maximum: 85.1%; minimum: 15.1 %); 53.4% (n=793) of the microelectrode recordings were concordant and 46.6% (n=694) discordant with the MRI-defined anatomical STN. Regarding the dorsal borders, we found discrepancies between the MER- and MRI-STN of 0.27 mm (= mean; SD: 0.51 mm) on the first operated side and 1.51 mm (SD: 1.5 mm) on the second (p=0.010, t-test).

Conclusions: MER provides additional information to highresolution anatomical MR images and may help to detect the amount and direction of brain shift.