BACKGROUND: Subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation has been recognized to control resting tremor in Parkinson disease. Similarly, thalamic stimulation (ventral intermediate nucleus; VIM) has shown tremor control in Parkinson disease, essential, and intention tremors. Recently, stimulation of the posterior subthalamic area (PSA) has been associated with excellent tremor control. Thus, the optimal site of stimulation may be located in the surrounding white matter.
AIMS: The objective of this work was to investigate the area of stimulation by determining the contact location correlated with the best tremor control in STN/VIM patients.
METHODS: The mean stimulation site and related volume of tissue activated (VTA) of 25 tremor patients (STN or VIM) were projected on the Morel atlas and compared to stimulation sites from other tremor studies.
RESULTS: All patients showed a VTA that covered ≥50% of the area superior and medial to the STN or inferior to the VIM. Our stimulation areas suggest involvement of the more lateral and superior part of the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRTT), whereas targets described in other studies seem to involve the DRTT in its more medial and inferior part when it crosses the PSA.
CONCLUSIONS: According to anatomical and diffusion tensor imaging data, the DRTT might be the common structure stimulated at different portions within the PSA/caudal zona incerta.