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Perioperative Brain Shift and Deep Brain Stimulating Electrode Deformation Analysis: Implications for rigid and non-rigid devices


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) efficacy is related to optimal electrode placement. Several authors have quantified brain shift related to surgical targeting; yet, few reports document and discuss the effects of brain shift after insertion. Objective: To quantify brain shift and electrode displacement after device insertion. Twelve patients were retrospectively reviewed, and one post-operative MRI and one time-delayed CT were obtained for each patient and their implanted electrodes modeled in 3D. Two competing methods were employed to measure the electrode tip location and deviation from the prototypical linear implant after the resolution of acute surgical changes, such as brain shift and pneumocephalus. In the interim between surgery and a pneumocephalus free postoperative scan, electrode deviation was documented in all patients and all electrodes. Significant shift of the electrode tip was identified in rostral, anterior, and medial directions (p < 0.05). Shift was greatest in the rostral direction, measuring an average of 1.41 mm. Brain shift and subsequent electrode displacement occurs in patients after DBS surgery with the reversal of intraoperative brain shift. Rostral displacement is on the order of the height of one DBS contact. Further investigation into the time course of intraoperative brain shift and its potential effects on procedures performed with rigid and non-rigid devices in supine and semi-sitting surgical positions is needed.

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The authors would like to thank Heather Rusk, Ethan Brodsky, and Angelica Hinchman of the University of Wisconsin Neurological Surgery Department for their helpful comments on the manuscript. Additionally, we acknowledge Media Solutions, University of Wisconsin for the figure they prepared for this manuscript. This work was supported in part by The Kinetics Foundation and institutional startup funds.

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Correspondence to Karl A. Sillay.

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Associate Editor Jeffrey L. Duerk oversaw the review of this article.

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Sillay, K.A., Kumbier, L.M., Ross, C. et al. Perioperative Brain Shift and Deep Brain Stimulating Electrode Deformation Analysis: Implications for rigid and non-rigid devices. Ann Biomed Eng 41, 293–304 (2013).

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  • Brain shift
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Electrode displacement
  • Subthalamic nucleus (STN)
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  • Rigid catheter
  • Non-rigid catheter