Targeting of the Subthalamic Nucleus for Deep Brain Stimulation: A Survey Among Parkinson Disease Specialists

Wolfgang Hamel*, Johannes A. Köppen, François Alesch, Angelo Antonini, Juan A. Barcia, Hagai Bergman, Stephan Chabardes, Maria Fiorella Contarino, Philippe Cornu, Walter Demmel, Günther Deuschl, Alfonso Fasano, Andrea A. Kühn, Patricia Limousin, Cameron C. McIntyre, H. Maximilian Mehdorn, Manuela Pilleri, Pierre Pollak, Maria C. Rodríguez-Oroz, Jordi RumiàMichael Samuel, Lars Timmermann, Francesc Valldeoriola, Jan Vesper, Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, Jens Volkmann, Andres M. Lozano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background Deep brain stimulation within or adjacent to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) represents the most common stereotactic procedure performed for Parkinson disease. Better STN imaging is often regarded as a requirement for improving stereotactic targeting. However, it is unclear whether there is consensus about the optimal target. Methods To obtain an expert opinion on the site regarded optimal for “STN stimulation,” movement disorder specialists were asked to indicate their preferred position for an active contact on hard copies of the Schaltenbrand and Wahren atlas depicting the STN in all 3 planes. This represented an idealized setting, and it mimicked optimal imaging for direct target definition in a perfectly delineated STN. Results The suggested targets were heterogeneous, although some clustering was observed in the dorsolateral STN and subthalamic area. In particular, in the anteroposterior direction, the intended targets differed to a great extent. Most of the indicated targets are thought to also result in concomitant stimulation of structures adjacent to the STN, including the zona incerta, fields of Forel, and internal capsule. Conclusions This survey illustrates that most sites regarded as optimal for STN stimulation are close to each other, but there appears to be no uniform perception of the optimal anatomic target, possibly influencing surgical results. The anatomic sweet zone for STN stimulation needs further specification, as this information is likely to make magnetic resonance imaging–based target definition less variable when applied to individual patients.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Targeting


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting of the Subthalamic Nucleus for Deep Brain Stimulation: A Survey Among Parkinson Disease Specialists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this