Stereotactic implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes: a review of technical systems, methods and emerging tools

  • Simone Hemm
  • Karin WårdellEmail author
Review Article


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become increasingly important for the treatment and relief of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor, dystonia and psychiatric illness. As DBS implantations and any other stereotactic and functional surgical procedure require accurate, precise and safe targeting of the brain structure, the technical aids for preoperative planning, intervention and postoperative follow-up have become increasingly important. The aim of this paper was to give an overview, from a biomedical engineering perspective, of a typical implantation procedure and current supporting techniques. Furthermore, emerging technical aids not yet clinically established are presented. This includes the state-of-the-art of neuroimaging and navigation, patient-specific simulation of DBS electric field, optical methods for intracerebral guidance, movement pattern analysis, intraoperative data visualisation and trends related to new stimulation devices. As DBS surgery already today is an information technology intensive domain, an “intuitive visualisation” interface for improving management of these data in relation to surgery is suggested.


Stereotactic and functional neurosurgery Deep brain stimulation Neuroimaging Safety 



Anterior and the posterior commissure


Deep brain stimulation


Diffusion tensor imaging


Finite element method


Globus pallidus internus


Laser Doppler perfusion monitoring


Microelectrode recording


Pedunculopontine nucleus




Specific absorption rate


Subthalamic nucleus


Unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale


Nucleus ventrointermedius of the thalamus


Zona incerta



This work was supported by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), Swedish Research Council (VR) and Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) (group grant 311-2006-7661). Financial support has been obtained as well from the Förderverein Solothurn of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Applied Sciences Northwestern SwitzerlandInstitute for Medical and Analytical TechnologiesMuttenzSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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