Intraoperative test stimulation versus stereotactic accuracy as a surgical end point: a comparison of essential tremor outcomes after ventral intermediate nucleus deep brain stimulation


Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEVentral intermediate nucleus deep brain stimulation (DBS) for essential tremor is traditionally performed with intraoperative test stimulation and conscious sedation, without general anesthesia (GA). Recently, the authors reported retrospective data on 17 patients undergoing DBS after induction of GA with standardized anatomical coordinates on T1-weighted MRI sequences used for indirect targeting. Here, they compare prospectively collected data from essential tremor patients undergoing DBS both with GA and without GA (non-GA).METHODSClinical outcomes were prospectively collected at baseline and 3-month follow-up for patients undergoing DBS surgery performed by a single surgeon. Stereotactic, euclidean, and radial errors of lead placement were calculated. Functional (activities of daily living), quality of life (Quality of Life in Essential Tremor [QUEST] questionnaire), and tremor severity outcomes were compared between groups.RESULTSFifty-six patients underwent surgery: 16 without GA (24 electrodes) and 40 with GA (66 electrodes). The mean baseline functional scores and QUEST summary indices were not different between groups (p = 0.91 and p = 0.59, respectively). Non-GA and GA groups did not differ significantly regarding mean postoperative percentages of functional improvement (non-GA, 47.9% vs GA, 48.1%; p = 0.96) or QUEST summary indices (non-GA, 79.9% vs GA, 74.8%; p = 0.50). Accuracy was comparable between groups (mean radial error 0.9 ± 0.3 mm for non-GA and 0.9 ± 0.4 mm for GA patients) (p = 0.75). The mean euclidean error was also similar between groups (non-GA, 1.1 ± 0.6 mm vs GA, 1.2 ± 0.5 mm; p = 0.92). No patient had an intraoperative complication, and the number of postoperative complications was not different between groups (non-GA, n = 1 vs GA, n = 10; p = 0.16).CONCLUSIONSDBS performed with the patient under GA to treat essential tremor is as safe and effective as traditional DBS surgery with intraoperative test stimulation while the patient is under conscious sedation without GA.

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