The goal in this study was to examine the cadaveric anatomy of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and to analyze the implications of the findings for deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery.
Five formalin-fixed human cerebrums were dissected using the Klingler fiber dissection technique. Digital photographs of the dissections were fused to obtain an anaglyphic image.
The STN was located posteroinferior to the anterior corticospinal fibers, posterosuperior to the substantia nigra, and anteromedial to the red nucleus, lenticular fasciculus, and thalamic fasciculus. The subthalamic region is ventral to the thalamus, medial to the internal capsule, and lateral and caudal to the hypothalamus. The nuclei found within the subthalamic region include the STN. The relationship between the STN and surrounding structures, which are not delineated sharply, is described.
The fiber dissection technique supports the presence of the subthalamic region as an integrative network in humans and offers the potential to aid in understanding the impacts of DBS surgery of the STN in patients with Parkinson disease. Further research is needed to define the exact role of the STN in the integrative process.