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Open Access Review

Post subthalamic area deep brain stimulation for tremors: a mini-review

Tao Xie1*, Jacqueline Bernard1 and Peter Warnke2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA

2 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA

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Translational Neurodegeneration 2012, 1:20  doi:10.1186/2047-9158-1-20

Published: 29 October 2012


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the thalamic ventrointermediate nucleus (VIM) is the traditional target for the surgical treatment of pharmacologically refractory essential tremor or parkinsonian tremor. Studies in recent years on DBS in posterior subthalamic area (PSA), including the zona incerta and the prelemniscal radiation, have shown promising results in tremor suppression, particularly for those tremors difficult to be well controlled by VIM DBS, such as the proximal postural tremor, distal intention tremor and some cerebellar outflow tremor in various diseases including essential tremor and multiple sclerosis. The adverse effect profile of the PSA DBS is mild and transient, without lasting or striking dysarthria, disequilibrium or tolerance, in contrast to VIM DBS, particularly bilateral DBS. However, the studies on PSA DBS so far are still limited, with a handful of studies on bilateral PSA, and a short follow up duration compared to VIM. More studies are needed for direct comparison of these targets in the future. A review here would help to gain more insight into the benefits and limits of the PSA DBS compared to that in VIM in the clinical management of various tremors, particularly for those difficult to be well controlled by traditional VIM DBS.

Post subthalamic area; Zona incerta; Deep brain stimulation; Tremor