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Travis J. Atchley, Nicholas M. B. Laskay, Brandon A. Sherrod, A. K. M. Fazlur Rahman, Harrison C. Walker and Barton L. Guthrie

OBJECTIVE

Infection and erosion following implantable pulse generator (IPG) placement are associated with morbidity and cost for patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems. Here, the authors provide a detailed characterization of infection and erosion events in a large cohort that underwent DBS surgery for movement disorders.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive IPG placements and replacements in patients who had undergone DBS surgery for movement disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 2013 and 2016. IPG procedures occurring before 2013 in these patients were also captured. Descriptive statistics, survival analyses, and logistic regression were performed using generalized linear mixed effects models to examine risk factors for the primary outcomes of interest: infection within 1 year or erosion within 2 years of IPG placement.

RESULTS

In the study period, 384 patients underwent a total of 995 IPG procedures (46.4% were initial placements) and had a median follow-up of 2.9 years. Reoperation for infection occurred after 27 procedures (2.7%) in 21 patients (5.5%). No difference in the infection rate was observed for initial placement versus replacement (p = 0.838). Reoperation for erosion occurred after 16 procedures (1.6%) in 15 patients (3.9%). Median time to reoperation for infection and erosion was 51 days (IQR 24–129 days) and 149 days (IQR 112–285 days), respectively. Four patients with infection (19.0%) developed a second infection requiring a same-side reoperation, two of whom developed a third infection. Intraoperative vancomycin powder was used in 158 cases (15.9%) and did not decrease the infection risk (infected: 3.2% with vancomycin vs 2.6% without, p = 0.922, log-rank test). On logistic regression, a previous infection increased the risk for infection (OR 35.0, 95% CI 7.9–156.2, p < 0.0001) and a lower patient BMI was a risk factor for erosion (BMI ≤ 24 kg/m2: OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–8.6, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

IPG-related infection and erosion following DBS surgery are uncommon but clinically significant events. Their respective timelines and risk factors suggest different etiologies and thus different potential corrective procedures.

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Travis J. Atchley, Galal A. Elsayed, Blake Sowers, Harrison C. Walker, Gustavo Chagoya, Matthew C. Davis, Joshua D. Bernstock, Nidal B. Omar, Daxa M. Patel and Barton L. Guthrie

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of seizures following deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode implantation and to evaluate factors associated with postoperative seizures.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective case-control study. The outcome of interest was seizure associated with DBS implantation. Univariate analyses were performed using the Student t-test for parametric continuous outcomes. The authors used the Kruskal-Wallis test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test for nonparametric continuous outcomes, chi-square statistics for categorical outcomes, and multivariate logistic regression for binomial variables.

RESULTS

A total of 814 DBS electrode implantations were performed in 645 patients (478 [58.7%] in men and 520 [63.9%] in patients with Parkinson’s disease). In total, 22 (3.4%) patients who had undergone 23 (2.8%) placements experienced seizure. Of the 23 DBS implantation–related seizures, 21 were new-onset seizures (3.3% of 645 patients) and 2 were recurrence or worsening of a prior seizure disorder. Among the 23 cases with postimplantation-related seizure, epilepsy developed in 4 (17.4%) postoperatively; the risk of DBS-associated epilepsy was 0.50% per DBS electrode placement and 0.63% per patient. Nine (39.1%) implantation-related seizures had associated postoperative radiographic abnormalities. Multivariate analyses suggested that age at surgery conferred a modest increased risk for postoperative seizures (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10). Sex, primary diagnosis, electrode location and sidedness, and the number of trajectories were not significantly associated with seizures after DBS surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Seizures associated with DBS electrode placement are uncommon, typically occur early within the postoperative period, and seldom lead to epilepsy. This study suggests that patient characteristics, such as age, may play a greater role than perioperative variables in determining seizure risk. Multiinstitutional studies may help better define and mitigate the risk of seizures after DBS surgery.