Comparative study of microelectrode recording-based STN location and MRI-based STN location in low to ultra-high field (7.0T) T2-weigthed MRI images

Rens Verhagen, P. Richard Schuurman, Pepijn van den Munckhof, M. Fiorella Contarino, Rob M.A. de Bie, Lo J. Bour

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Objective: The correspondence between the anatomical STN and the STN observed in T2-weighted MRI images used for deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting remains unclear. Using a new method, we compared the STN borders seen on MRI images with those estimated by intraoperative microelectrode recordings (MER).

Approach: We developed a method to automatically generate a detailed estimation of STN shape and the location of its borders, based on multiple-channel MER measurements. In 33 STNs of 19 Parkinson patients, we quantitatively compared the dorsal and lateral borders of this MER-based STN model with the STN borders visualized by 1.5 T (n = 14), 3.0 T (n = 10) and 7.0 T (n = 9) T2-weighted MRI.

Main results: The dorsal border was identified more dorsally on coronal T2 MRI than by the MER-based STN model, with a significant difference in the 3.0 T (range 0.97–1.19 mm) and 7.0 T (range 1.23–1.25 mm) groups. The lateral border was significantly more medial on 1.5 T (mean: 1.97 mm) and 3.0 T (mean: 2.49 mm) MRI than in the MER-based STN; a difference that was not found in the 7.0 T group.

Significance: The STN extends further in the dorsal direction on coronal T2 MRI images than is measured by MER. Increasing MRI field strength to 3.0 T or 7.0 T yields similar discrepancies between MER and MRI at the dorsal STN border. In contrast, increasing MRI field strength to 7.0 T may be useful for identification of the lateral STN border and thereby improve DBS targeting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number066009
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • functional neurosurgery
  • deep brain stimulation
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • T2-weighted MRI
  • microelectrode recordings

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