Object. The authors describe the microelectrode recording and stimulation techniques used for localizing the caudal sensorimotor portion of the globus pallidus internus (GPi) and nearby structures (internal capsule and optic tract) in patients undergoing GPi pallidotomy.
Methods. Localization is achieved by developing a topographic map of the abovementioned structures based on the physiological characteristics of neurons in the basal ganglia and the microexcitable properties of the internal capsule and optic tract. The location of the caudal GPi can be determined by “form fitting” the physiological map on relevant planes of a stereotactic atlas. A sensorimotor map can be developed by assessing neuronal responses to passive manipulation or active movement of the limbs and orofacial structures. The internal capsule and optic tract, respectively, can be identified by the presence of stimulation-evoked movement or the patient's report of flashes or speckles of light that occur coincident with stimulation. The optic tract may also be located by identifying the neural response to flashes of light. The anatomical/physiological map is used to guide lesion placement within the sensorimotor portion of the pallidum while sparing nearby structures, for example, the external globus pallidus, nucleus basalis, optic tract, and internal capsule. The lesion location and size predicted by using physiological recording together with thin-slice high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging reconstructions of the lesion were confirmed in one patient on histological studies.
Conclusions. These data provide important information concerning target identification for ablative or deep brain stimulation procedures in idiopathic Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders.