Stop! border ahead: Automatic detection of subthalamic exit during deep brain stimulation surgery

Dan Valsky*, Odeya Marmor-Levin, Marc Deffains, Renana Eitan, Kim T. Blackwell, Hagai Bergman, Zvi Israel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background: Microelectrode recordings along preplanned trajectories are often used for accurate definition of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) borders during deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson's disease. Usually, the demarcation of the STN borders is performed manually by a neurophysiologist. The exact detection of the borders is difficult, especially detecting the transition between the STN and the substantia nigra pars reticulata. Consequently, demarcation may be inaccurate, leading to suboptimal location of the DBS lead and inadequate clinical outcomes. Methods: We present machine-learning classification procedures that use microelectrode recording power spectra and allow for real-time, high-accuracy discrimination between the STN and substantia nigra pars reticulata. Results: A support vector machine procedure was tested on microelectrode recordings from 58 trajectories that included both STN and substantia nigra pars reticulata that achieved a 97.6% consistency with human expert classification (evaluated by 10-fold cross-validation). We used the same data set as a training set to find the optimal parameters for a hidden Markov model using both microelectrode recording features and trajectory history to enable real-time classification of the ventral STN border (STN exit). Seventy-three additional trajectories were used to test the reliability of the learned statistical model in identifying the exit from the STN. The hidden Markov model procedure identified the STN exit with an error of 0.04 ± 0.18 mm and detection reliability (error < 1 mm) of 94%. Conclusions: The results indicate that robust, accurate, and automatic real-time electrophysiological detection of the ventral STN border is feasible.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society


  • Parkinson's disease
  • deep brain stimulation
  • microelectrode recording
  • substantia nigra
  • subthalamic nucleus


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