Variability in subthalamic nucleus targeting for deep brain stimulation with 3 and 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging

B.R. Isaacs, M. Heijmans*, M.L. Kuijf, P.L. Kubben, L. Ackermans, Y. Temel, M.C. Keuken, B.U. Forstmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD). Side-effects may, however, be induced when the DBS lead is placed suboptimally. Currently, lower field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1.5 or 3 Tesla (T) is used for targeting. Ultra-high-field MRI (7 T and above) can obtain superior anatomical information and might therefore be better suited for targeting. This study aims to test whether optimized 7 T imaging protocols result in less variable targeting of the STN for DBS compared to clinically utilized 3 T images. Three DBS-experienced neurosurgeons determined the optimal STN DBS target site on three repetitions of 3 T-T2, 7 T-T2*, 7 T-R2* and 7 T-QSM images for five PD patients. The distance in millimetres between the three repetitive coordinates was used as an index of targeting variability and was compared between field strength, MRI contrast and repetition with a Bayesian ANOVA. Further, the target coordinates were registered to MNI space, and anatomical coordinates were compared between field strength, MRI contrast and repetition using a Bayesian ANOVA. The results indicate that the neurosurgeons are stable in selecting the DBS target site across MRI field strength, MRI contrast and repetitions. The analysis of the coordinates in MNI space however revealed that the actual selected location of the electrode is seemingly more ventral when using the 3 T scan compared to the 7 T scans.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102829
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Field strength
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Targeting
  • MRI

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