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The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) region has received considerable attention in clinical studies as a target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson disease. These studies have yielded variable results with an overall impression of improvement in falls and freezing in many but not all patients treated. We evaluated the available data on the surgical anatomy and terminology of the PPN region in a companion paper. Here we focus on issues concerning surgical technique, imaging, and early side effects of surgery. The aim of this paper was to gain more insight into the reasoning for choosing specific techniques and to discuss shortcomings of available studies. Our data demonstrate the wide range in almost all fields which were investigated. There are a number of important challenges to be resolved, such as identification of the optimal target, the choice of the surgical approach to optimize electrode placement, the impact on the outcome of specific surgical techniques, the reliability of intraoperative confirmation of the target, and methodological differences in postoperative validation of the electrode position. There is considerable variability both within and across groups, the overall experience with PPN DBS is still limited, and there is a lack of controlled trials. Despite these challenges, the procedure seems to provide benefit to selected patients and appears to be relatively safe. One important limitation in comparing studies from different centers and analyzing outcomes is the great variability in targeting and surgical techniques, as shown in our paper. The challenges we identified will be of relevance when designing future studies to better address several controversial issues. We hope that the data we accumulated may facilitate the development of surgical protocols for PPN DBS.

Original publication




Journal article


Stereotact Funct Neurosurg

Publication Date





307 - 319


Deep Brain Stimulation, Humans, Parkinson Disease, Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus, Postoperative Care, Postoperative Complications