Functional stereotactic neurosurgery including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and radiofrequency lesioning is well established and widely used for treatment of movement disorders and various other neurological and psychiatric diseases. Although functional stereotactic neurosurgery procedures are considered relatively safe, intracranial hemorrhage resulting in permanent neurological deficits may occur in 1%–3% of patients. Microelectrode recording (MER) has been recognized as a valuable tool for refining the final target in functional stereotactic neurosurgery. Moreover, MER provides insight into the underlying neurophysiological pathomechanisms of movement disorders and other diseases. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing controversy on whether MER increases the risk for hemorrhage. The authors aimed to compare the risk of hemorrhage in functional stereotactic neurosurgical procedures with regard to the use of MER.
The authors performed a comparative analysis on a consecutive series of 645 functional neurosurgery procedures, including 624 DBS surgeries and 21 radiofrequency lesionings, to evaluate whether the use of MER would increase the risk for hemorrhage. MER was performed in 396 procedures, while no MER was used in 249 cases. The MER technique involved the use of a guiding cannula and a single trajectory when feasible. Postoperative CT scans were obtained within 24 hours after surgery in all patients and screened for the presence of hemorrhage.
Twenty-one intracranial hemorrhages were detected on the postoperative CT scans (3.2%). Of the 21 intracranial hemorrhages, 14 were asymptomatic and 7 were symptomatic. Symptoms were transient except in 1 case. There was no statistically significant correlation between hemorrhage and the use of MER at any site (subdural, ventricle, trajectory, target, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic). There were 4 cases of symptomatic hemorrhage in the MER group (1%) and 3 cases in those without MER (1.2%).
Intraoperative MER did not increase the overall risk of hemorrhage in the authors’ experience using primarily a single MER trajectory and a guiding cannula.