Models and Simulations of the Electric Field in Deep Brain Stimulation Comparison of Lead Designs, Operating Modes and Tissue Conductivity

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established surgical therapy for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET). A thin electrode is implanted in a predefined area of the brain with the use of stereotactic neurosurgery. In the last few years new DBS electrodes and systems have been developed with possibilities for using more parameters for control of the stimulation volume.In this thesis, simulations using the finite element method (FEM) have been developed and used for investigation of the electric field (EF) extension around different types of DBS lead designs (symmetric, steering) and stimulation modes (voltage, current). The electrode surrounding was represented either with a homogeneous model or a patient-specific model based on individual preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The EF was visualized and compared for different lead designs and operating modes.In Paper I, the EF was quantitatively investigated around two lead designs (3389 and 6148) simulated to operate in voltage and current mode under acute and chronic time points following implantation.Simulations showed a major impact on the EF extension between postoperative time points which may explain the clinical decisions to change the stimulation amplitude weeks after implantation. In Paper II, the simulations were expanded to include two leads having steering function (6180, Surestim1) and patient-specific FEM simulations in the zona incerta. It was found that both the heterogeneity of the tissue and the operating mode, influence the EF distribution and that equivalent contact configurations of the leads result in similar EF. The steering mode presented larger volumes in current mode when using equivalent amplitudes. Simulations comparing DBS and intraoperative stimulation test using a microelectrode recording (MER) system (Paper III), showed that several parallel MER leads and the presence of the non-active DBS contacts influence the EF distribution and that the DBS EF volume can cover, but also extend to, other anatomical areas.Paper IV introduces a method for an objective exploitation of intraoperative stimulation test data in order to identify the optimal implant position in the thalamus of the chronic DBS lead. Patient-specific EF simulations were related to the anatomy with the help of brain atlases and the clinical effects which were quantified by accelerometers. The first results indicate that the good clinical effect in ET is due to several structures around the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus.

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