Evaluating and Optimizing Dentato-Rubro-Thalamic-Tract Deterministic Tractography in Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor

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BACKGROUND: Dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRT) deep brain stimulation (DBS) suppresses tremor in essential tremor (ET) patients. However, DRT depiction through tractography can vary depending on the included brain regions. Moreover, it is unclear which section of the DRT is optimal for DBS. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate deterministic DRT tractography and tremor control in DBS for ET. METHODS: After DBS surgery, DRT tractography was conducted in 37 trajectories (20 ET patients). Per trajectory, 5 different DRT depictions with various regions of interest (ROI) were constructed. Comparison resulted in a DRT depiction with highest correspondence to intraoperative tremor control. This DRT depiction was subsequently used for evaluation of short-term postoperative adverse and beneficial effects. RESULTS: Postoperative optimized DRT tractography employing the ROI motor cortex, posterior subthalamic area (PSA), and ipsilateral superior cerebellar peduncle and dentate nucleus best corresponded with intraoperative trajectories (92%) and active DBS contacts (93%) showing optimal tremor control. DRT tractography employing a red nucleus or ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (VIM) ROI often resulted in a more medial course. Optimal stimulation was located in the section between VIM and PSA. CONCLUSION: This optimized deterministic DRT tractography strongly correlates with optimal tremor control. This technique is readily implementable for prospective evaluation in DBS target planning for ET.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalOperative neurosurgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Dentato-rubro-thalamic-tract
  • Deterministic tractography
  • Essential tremor
  • Target planning

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