Magnetic resonance imaging-based stereotactic localization of the globus pallidus and subthalamic nucleus

Philip A. Starr, Jerrold L. Vitek, Mahlon DeLong, Roy A.E. Bakay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To optimize the accuracy of initial stereotactic targeting for movement disorders surgery, we performed stereotactic localization of the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) and subthalamic nucleus (STN) using magnetic resonance imaging protocols in which the borders of these nuclei were directly visualized. METHODS: Fifty-one consecutive cases using the pallidal target and six using the subthalamic target were studied. Localization of these nuclei was performed using the Leksell stereotactic head frame and inversion recovery sequences (GPi) or T2-weighted spin echo sequences (STN). Targeting accuracy and individual variation in the spatial coordinates of these structures were independently measured by identification of nuclear boundaries during multiple microelectrode penetrations. RESULTS: The lateral and vertical coordinates of an atlas-defined point in the GPi, with respect to the line between the anterior and posterior commissures, was highly variable. Initial targeting the GPi based on direct visualization of the target boundaries (external medullary lamina and optic tract) resulted in greater precision than would be expected using fixed anterior and posterior commissure-based coordinates. Initial targeting the STN using magnetic resonance imaging was sufficiently precise to place the initial microelectrode penetration within STN in all six cases. CONCLUSION: Magnetic resonance imaging-based initial stereotactic targeting of the GPi, based on direct visualization of the target boundaries, is useful to improve target accuracy over that of purely indirect anterior and posterior commissure- based targeting methods. Initial targeting of the STN was reliably accomplished by direct visualization. However, there remains sufficient variability that the final target location in both GPi and STN required electrophysiological mapping in all cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Globus pallidus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pallidotomy
  • Stereotaxy
  • Subthalamic nucleus


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