Clinical Article

Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 153, Issue 12, pp 2337-2341

First online:

Hardware-related infections after deep brain stimulation surgery: review of incidence, severity and management in 212 single-center procedures in the first year after implantation

  • Massimo PiacentinoAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, San Bortolo HospitalDipartimento di Neuroscienze-Neurochirurgia, Ospedale San Bortolo Email author 
  • , Manuela PilleriAffiliated withCasa di Cura Villa Margherita
  • , Luigi BartolomeiAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, San Bortolo Hospital

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Device-related infection is a common occurrence after deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, and may result in additional interventions and a loss of efficacy of therapy. This retrospective review aimed to evaluate the incidence, severity and management of device-related infections in 212 DBS procedures performed in our institute.


Data on 106 patients, in whom 212 DBS procedures were performed between 2001 and 2011 at our institute by a single neurosurgeon (M.P.), were reviewed to assess the incidence, severity, management and clinical characteristics of infections in the first year after the implantation of a DBS system.


Infections occurred in 8.5% of patients and 4.2% of procedures. Of the nine infections, eight involved the neurostimulator and extensions, and one the whole system. The infections occurred 30.7 days after implantation: 7 within 30 days and 2 within 6 months. Infected and uninfected patients were comparable in terms of age, sex, indication for DBS implantation and neurostimulator location. In eight cases, the system components involved were removed and re-implanted after 3 months, while in one case the complete hardware was removed and not re-implanted.


The overall incidence of postoperative infections after DBS system implantation was 4.2%; this rate decreased over time. All infections required further surgery. Correct and timely management of partial infections may result in successful salvage of part of the system.


Deep brain stimulation Hardware complications Device-related infections Surgical complications Deep brain stimulation complications